Diary from the Downs: It’s a massively-exciting week at Goodwood

Rudimental star at Goodwood's 2013 Three Friday Nights series  Picture by Clive Bennett
Rudimental star at Goodwood's 2013 Three Friday Nights series Picture by Clive Bennett

We have a new challenge to meet at Goodwood this week – one of our popular Three Friday Nights events followed by a big family race day on Sunday, writes racecourse MD Adam Waterworth.

Lots of people have commented on how well the team transform the parade ring into a dancefloor on the Friday nights. Now we’ll see how quickly we can change it from a dancefloor back into the parade ring.

Tomorrow’s TFN opener, starring Chase and Status, is the most successful one we have staged since launching the series in 2011. It sold out in weeks.

The Friday nights have become increasingly popular year on year and are now very well-established. This year’s final event, with Zane Lowe on June 20, is already sold out and the June 13 fixture with Naughty Boy will go the same way.

As ever, the racing is crucial to the evening and tomorrow’s six-race card has attracted excellent numbers of entries. A couple of races to look out for are the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes for two-year-olds at 6.35 and the class-three handicap, the EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Fillies’ Stakes, at 7.10.

The two-year-olds’ race has entries from many leading trainers and could well throw up one or two horses that’ll be seen at Royal Ascot later in June or back at our Glorious meeting.

Then after a few hours’ rest, we turn our attention to Sunday and a new fixture. When we had the chance to pick up a meeting the day after the Derby, with the possibility of the Derby-winning trainer and jockey here, it was too good to turn down.

The day will raise money for the Injured Jockeys’ Fund. In the fund’s 50th year, all racecourses were asked to stage a race for them but we wanted to do more so are devoting the whole day to them.

To highlight their work, we have named a race after John Woodman, who broke his neck in a fall very early in his racing career many years ago and was greatly helped by the IJF. John – whose family are from Lavant and whose brother Steve still has a yard in the village now – died earlier this year.

The day will also have a ‘Sunday School’ theme. Youngsters can come in from 10.30am and see the weighing room, the racecourse itself, meet the vets and see right behind the scenes.

There’ll be a chance to meet a racehorse, plus the usual fairground rides. And we’ll have the leading National Hunt racehorse Sire De Grugy parading, with his jockey Jamie Moore and another local National Hunt rider Leighton Apsell also in attendance.

And let’s not forget the races – there’ll be seven of them, starting at 2.25.