Goodwood bosses tell members: It's fabulous to see you back

Goodwood bosses say they’re delighted to welcome crowds back to the racecourse – and can’t wait to see thousands more at Glorious week.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 7:46 am
Action from Saturday's fixture / Picture: Malcolm Wells

Goodwood bosses say they’re delighted to welcome crowds back to the racecourse – and can’t wait to see thousands more at Glorious week.

More than 3,000 members attended each of the two Goodwood fixtures last Friday and Saturday.

And, despite the weather doing its best to spoil things, returning members and racecourse staff agreed it was a relief to return to more normal sights and sounds on the Downs.

Goodwood sport MD Adam Waterworth/ Picture: Malcolm Wells

Crowds of up to 4,000 members will be allowed at Goodwood’s four June meetings – three Friday evenings and a Sunday afternoon – but the plan is still for 100 per cent capacity to be allowed at Glorious, which starts on July 27.

Members saw some absorbing racing, including an eye-catching 25/1 win for the David Simcock-trained Ad Infinitum in the listed Height of Fashion Stakes.

Ironically the long-awaited return of crowds was almost delayed by high winds on Friday that put the meeting in doubt.

Goodwood’s managing director of sport, Adam Waterworth, said: “Friday was challenging and at various points we thought we’d struggle to race. It was touch and go and we had to send the jockeys out to see if they thought conditions were safe.

“We wouldn’t have been surprised if they’d said we shouldn’t race.

“But we got it on and we were delighted to see members back in bars, having a bet and watching the racing.

“Saturday felt a lot more familiar. There were more members out in the stands and it felt, well, not normal, but a lot more familiar.

“In fact hearing applause and cheers for winning horses was strange at first – we’ve got used to silence! The feedback we had was that members were so glad to be back.”

Waterworth said he and his colleagues remained confident the government roadmap out of lockdown was on track, meaning that Glorious – aka the Qatar Goodwood Festival – would be allowed full crowds.

“The public seem to share our confidence because the ticket office this week, in the last few days before early-bird ticket prices for the festival end, is busier than ever,” he added.

“We have the prospect of superstars Stradivarius and Battaash coming back looking for their respective fifth wins, and we can’t wait.”