CLERK of the course Seamus Buckley is relaxed about start-of-the-season conditions of Goodwood – despite this month’s rainfall already being 12 times the level of April last year.
Buckley said there’d been 72mm of rain so far this month, compared to 6mm in the whole of April 2011.
That’s meant no need for the groundstaff to water and has left the grass looking good.
But now officials are hoping for a much drier spell in the lead-up to the track’s first flat meeting of the year on Saturday week.
Buckley said: “January, February and March were dry and it took a long time for the grass to get going.
“Then we had a cold spell in early April with night frosts which checked things.
“But now we’ve had 72mm of rain this month and I’m quite satisfied with how it’s looking.
“We’d like it to settle now and stay dry for at least a week.
“But Goodwood traditionally drains away quickly into the chalk so more rain shouldn’t be too much of a problem.”
At present the long-range forecast is even predicting the best day in the next ten could be the day of the first meeting - Saturday, May 5, when the course’s programme of 19 meetings kicks off with a high-quality card that features a couple of listed races.
May sees Goodwood staff really hit the ground running, with five meetings in 22 days – finishing off with three consecutive days leading into the bank holiday weekend.
Buckley said trainers and owners seemed to be planning their flat-racing campaigns longrer-term at the moment and a number had been in touches about the prospects for racing.
The track has also had the green light from the British Horseracing Authority inspectors, who visited this week.