Goodwood’s Mile line-up a cause for Celebration

Afsare (Andrea Atzeni) comes home to win last year's Celebration Mile     Picture by Malcolm Wells
Afsare (Andrea Atzeni) comes home to win last year's Celebration Mile Picture by Malcolm Wells

GOODWOOD’S Celebration Mile looks like being a high-class centrepiece to the track’s packed weekend of action.

Saturday’s Group 2 contest – sponsored this year by Doom Bar – is Goodwood’s biggest race outside the Glorious festival and this year’s renewal is set to more than justify its billing.

Although one or two top-rated runners dropped out ahead of final declarations – including Aidan O’Brien pair Darwin and Cougar Mountain – there’s a strong line-up of nine for the race.

Roger Charlton’s Captain Cat, the Hughie Morrison-trained Chil The Kite and Richard Hannon’s Producer are the top-rated entries, while Belgian Bill and What About Carlo, trained by George Baker and Eve Johnston Houghton, have both impressed at Goodwood on previous appearances.

Hannon also sends Emell to post while Mark Johnston aims to build on a highly-successful Glorious by entering Bow Creek.

The line-up is completed by James Fanshawe’s Hors De Combat and Rod Millman’s Master Carpenter.

Racecourse managing director Adam Waterworth said: “Looking at entries, I’d say the quality is better than expected. We have some horses who race-goers will have seen here recently, and others who are in superb form. You couldn’t ask for more.”

The Celebration Mile, won last year by Andrea Atzeni on the Luca Cumasni-trained Afsare, is the centrepiece of a three-day extravaganza which will see the racecourse welcome families for entertainment themed around the British seaside holidays of the mid-20th century.

Waterworth said: “This is the third year of our three-day August Bank Holiday festival and it has taken off really well. We’d hope for crowds of 10,000 or more on Saturday and Sunday, especially with the weather looking plesasant.”

Other racing highlights on Saturday are the £40,000 Group 3 Whiteley Clinic Prestige Stakes for two-year-old fillies, the seven-furlong £100,000 August Bank Handicap and £40,000 Listed Absolute Aesthetics March Stakes. Nine go in the Prestige Stakes and final declarations left a field of 20 for the handicap.

The Chichester Observer Stakes and a field of ten brings down the curtain on Saturday’s card.

The three-day meeting starts tonight with Goodwood’s final evening fixture of the year (first race 5.10pm) and concludes on Sunday (first race 2pm), with the last-day highlight the £60,000 Group Three Doom Bar Supreme Stakes, which had attracted 25 entries ahead of today’s final declarations.

Our Friday tips: 5.10 Chevise, 5.40 Silver Ranger, 6.10 Persun, 6.45 Psychometry, 7.20 Nelson of the Nile, 7.50 Wordismybond.

Off the track, it will be a sandy step back in time as the racecourse welcomes families, friends and race-goers to its 1950s-inspired weekend.

Entertainment includes a funfair, a beach complete with colourful huts, live music, face-painters, a maze and vintage eateries.

Tonight’s racing will be followed by rock’n’roll music from Rockin The Joint on the East Parade Lawn and a fireworks display in front of the stands. Staff are urging race-goers to dress in 1950s fashion.

Tickets start at just £10 with accompanied under-18s going free.

There is a free return shuttle bus from Chichester railway station each day.

For further information or to book tickets, call the Goodwood ticket office on 01243 755 055 or visit