Tough winter - but going should be good at Goodwood this season

Goodwood’s clerk of the course is confident there will be a perfect racing surface when the course holds its first meeting of 2011 – despite a harsh winter which provided big challenges for the groundstaff.

Seamus Buckley says they’re on course to have the track looking pristine in time for the opening day of their season – Saturday April 30.

“We’ve had some severe climatic conditions, with heavy snow in January and December last year, which have caused us some problems. Heavy snow lying on turf can cause diseases which kill the grass,” said Buckley (below). “But with the rigorous repair and mantainence regime we have, we’ve ensured we are on top of any problems nature can throw at us.

“I’m confident the course will be at its best when we open the gates for the first race meeting of the season and, of course, for Glorious Goodwood.

“We had 1,600 runners through Goodwood last year, and a very successful Glorious Goodwood with the going good every day.

“Preparation for 2011 began as soon as the the last horse left Goodwood at the end of last season.

“We’ve worked hard all year round, sometimes through the night, to maintain the racecourse to the highest standard.”

It’s no surprise, then, that Goodwood have been named runners-up for the fifth year running in ‘best flat racecourse’ category in the coveted 2010 Pitchcare Neil Wyatt Racecourse Groundstaff Awards.

Judging was by a panel comprising representatives of the National Trainers’ Federation and Professional Jockeys’ Association, with support from the BHA Course Inspectors.

Buckley said: “This continues to show what a great job the Goodwood Groundstaff do to keep the racecourse in such a wonderful condition which is praised by all within the industry.”