Glorious Goodwood: Betting Tips, Stats & History

Glorious Goodwood, now know as the Qatar Goodwood Festival, is one of the key flat racing fixtures in the world. Held in the stunning West Sussex countryside, not only does the meeting include some of the best jockeys, trainers and races throughout the flat racing season, but it comes with all the glitz and glamour that these high-profile events seem to ooze. 

The meeting is held at Goodwood Racecourse and is often held at the end of July or early August. It’s one of very few meeting that takes place over 5 days, with each day set up to target a wide range of calibre of races. 

Glorious Goodwood Betting Tips for 2018

Late July/early August can mean only one thing for racing fans. That’s right, its time for Goodwood’s annual five-day equine spectacular. In what has been one of the most glorious summers in recent memory, the name of this ever popular festival could hardly be more fitting this year. Glorious in name, glorious in nature, expect many of the stars of the season to shine bright in Sussex this week.

With no fewer than 35 contests to look forward to over the five days, from the maidens just starting out on their racing journey, to the more established high-class performers, Goodwood offers one of the most generous and varied helpings of racing entertainment of the season. Let’s take a look at what each of the five days has in store.

Day One – Tuesday 31st July 2018

For those looking for a future star, the opening day’s Qatar Vintage Stakes is a race well worth tuning in to. Recent seasons have seen this race fall to future 2000 Guineas winner, Galileo Gold, the legendary Highland Reel and talented Expert Eye 12 months ago. Speaking of Highland Reel, his full brother Cape Of Good Hope looks set to head here next, as Aidan O’Brien bids to keep the family tradition going in the race. The son of Galileo is a 7/1 shot with Coral

The banker of the opening day comes in the major staying contest of the week. John Gosden’s Stradivarius was too good for the rest in the Goodwood Cup 12 months ago, and, if anything, he looks an even better performer this time around. With the prospect of a £1 million bonus should he win both this race and the Doncaster Cup, we can rest assured that no stone will be left unturned when it comes to his preparation. This year’s Ascot Gold Cup king is the 4/6 favourite for the race.

Elsewhere on the card the sharply progressive Communique from the yard of Mark Johnston continues his ascent through the ranks in the Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap and Roger Teal’s 2000 Guineas runner up, Tip Two Win, takes a slight drop in both class and trip as he bids to get his nose back in front in the Lennox Stakes.

TimeRaceGrade / LengthTip
13:50 Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap Class 2 / 1m 2f Pivoine
14:25 Vintage Stakes Group 2 / 7f Van Beethoven
15:00 Lennox Stakes Group 2 / 7f Sir Dancealot
15:35 Goodwood Cup Group 1 / 2m Stradivarius
16:10 Swiss Gin EBF Maiden Stakes Class 2 / 6f Al Mureib
16:45 Chelsea Barracks Handicap Class 2 / 5f Copper Knight
17:15 Matchbook Fillies' Handicap Class 3 / 1m Kalagia

Day Two – Wednesday 1st August 2018

One of the big Group race highlights on the second day comes in the Molecomb Stakes as the speediest two year olds in the game tackle the fast and furious 5f course. We have a whole host of eye-catching juveniles lined up once again this year, including Ballydoyle’s Land Force, and Richard Spencer’s Rumble Inthejungle, whose sire Bungle Inthejungle won this very race in 2012.

Unlike on the opening day, we wouldn’t expect to see any horse being sent off at odds on Day 2. The closest we may get to a good thing probably once again comes in the big race though, and it is again one from the yard of master handler Johns Gosden who looks set to take all the beating. The St James’s Palace Stakes is about as good a trial as you can get when it comes to the Sussex Stakes, and Without Parole finally delivered on the hype when seeing off his rivals in that Royal Ascot showpiece. He’s the 15/8 favourite for this one mile event with Betfair, and looks a worthy market leader. He won’t have things all his own way though with the resurgent Expert Eye from the Sir Michael Stoute operation amongst the opposition.

One of the most intriguing runners on the card comes in the Matchbook Betting Podcast Handicap held over the marathon trip of 2m4½f. More familiar to fans of the jumping game, the popular dual Grade 2 winning hurdler, Lil Rockerfeller, makes his first flat appearance since 2014 here. Rated as high as 164 over hurdles, that proven class sees him head the betting for this at 9/2 with Coral.

TimeRaceGrade / LengthTip
13:50 Matchbook Betting Podcast Handicap Class 2 / 2m 4½f Lil Rockerfeller
14:25 Move Over to Matchbook Handicap Class 2 / 1m 4f Infrastructure
15:00 Molecomb Stakes Group 3 / 5f Soldier's Call
15:35 Sussex Stakes Group 1 / 1m Expert Eye
16:10 Victoria Maiden Fillies' Stakes Class 2 / 6f Yourtimeisnow
16:45 Breeders' Series Fillies' Handicap Class 2 / 1m 2f Caravela
17:55 Owners Group Handicap Class 3 / 7f Sir Titan

Day Three – Thursday 2nd August 2018

The middle day of this meeting really belongs to the fillies with the two big Group Races of the Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes and the Nassau stakes being restricted to the fairer sex.

The first of those two contest sees an intriguing clash between the proven quality of the Luca Cumani trained God Given and the immensely promising daughter of Nathaniel, Pilaster, from the yard of Roger Varian. God Given heads the betting at 10/3 with Bet365, but will have to be right at the top of her game if she is to successfully concede 11lbs to her younger rivals.

Youth has dominated the Nassau Stakes in recent years, with the classic generation having the best of it against their older rivals. Sir Michael Stoute’s Veracious wasn’t deemed ready for a tilt at the Guineas or Oaks but looks set to take in this race for her ever-patient handler. She will likely prove popular in the betting, as will fellow three year olds Wild Illusion and Billesdon Brook – who famously caused one of the shocks of the season in the 1000 Guineas.

It is one of the older brigade who sits atop the market though. Urban Fox put in a scintillating display when mastering Oaks heroine Forever Together in the Pretty Polly Stakes last time out, and many will be expecting her to follow up here for William Haggas.

TimeRaceGrade / LengthTip
13:50 Matchbook Best Value Handicap Class 2 / 1m 2f Rock Eagle
14:25 Lillie Langtry Stakes Group 2 / 1m 6f God Given
15:00 Richmond Stakes Group 2 / 6f Marie's Diamond
15:35 Nassau Stakes Group 1 / 1m 2f Urban Fox
16:10 Telegraph Nursery Handicap Class 2 / 7f Revich
16:45 Markel Maiden Fillies' Stakes Class 2 / 7f Accordance
17:20 Tatler Handicap Class 3 / 5f Marnie James

Day Four – Friday 3rd August 2018

Sir Michael Stoute has certainly been in the headlines this season with his record setting exploits both at Royal Ascot and in the King George. Stoute sent out none other than King George hero Poet’s Word to take the day four opening Glorious Stakes 12 months ago and - having also won with King’s Fete in 2016 - he will be bidding for a third consecutive win this year. Given his recent record it is no surprise that it is Sir Michael’s Mirage Dancer (5/2 Betfair) who heads the betting for this Group 3 affair.

Fans of handicapping action are well catered for throughout this meeting, and the Friday card is no exception, with the Golden Mile annually offering up one of the most intriguing betting puzzles of the week. There will no doubt be one or two heavily punted runners in this in the build up to the race, and it can pay to follow the money here. It’s 12/1 the field at present though demonstrating the open nature of this fiercely competitive contest, and predicting which of these will be punted is a tough task. The ultra-consistent, Humbert, and Cape Byron - who is better than he showed last time out - look to be two of the most interesting contenders.

One of the most sensational performances of the entire 2017 meeting came in the big sprint contest on the Friday card as Charles Hills Battaash simply pulverised his rivals over the flying five furlongs. Returning this season with an impressive win under a big weight at Haydock, he then disappointed ever so slightly when only second in the King’s Stand Stakes last time out. Goodwood’s King George Qatar Stakes does in theory represent a slight drop in class, being “only” a Group 2 and it will take a good one to lower his colours at a track he likes. At 13/8 with Ladbrokes this speedball will likely be carrying the hopes of the majority of punters on day four.

TimeRaceGrade / LengthTip
13:50 Bombay Sapphire Stakes Group 3 / 1m 4f Second Step
14:25 Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes Group 3 / 1m Ostilio
15:00 Golden Mile Handicap Class 2 / 5f Fire Brigade
15:35 King George Qatar Stakes Group 2 / 5f Battaash
16:10 Unibet Nursery Handicap Class 2 / 6f The Great Heir
16:40 Oak Tree Stakes Group 3 / 7f One Master
17:15 Maltsmiths Handicap Class 3 / 1m 3f Desert Path

Day Five – Saturday 4th August 2018

Whilst for much of the week it is the group class performers who steal the limelight at this meeting, that’s not the case on the concluding Saturday. One of the most targeted and prestigious handicaps of the entire season, the Stewards’ Cup is not only Saturday’s showpiece contest, but regularly the biggest betting race of the whole meeting.

John Gosden’s Dreamfield came up just short when heavily punted to land the Wokingham before running a cracker to finish sixth in the Group 1 July Cup and looks set to return to handicapping company here. Currently priced at 8/1 with Coral, he seems likely to go off favourite on the day. Amongst those in opposition are his Wokingham conqueror, Bacchus, hype horse, Equilateral, and a whole host of runners likely to have been specifically targeted at the race.

The pick of the Group race action looks set to come in the Gordon Stakes. With the roll of honour in the past 10 years alone featuring three King George winners, and a winner of the Champion Stakes, this may officially be a Group 3 contest, but regularly attracts runners of the very highest class. It would be a brave man to back against Sir Michael Stoute here, with the Newmarket handler having won the race 10 times in all including five of the 10 most recent editions.

TimeRaceGrade / LengthTip
13:50 Stewards' Sprint Handicap Class 2 / 6f Golden Steps
14:25 Qatar Summer Handicap Class 2 / 1m 6f Pacify
15:00 Qatar Gordon Stakes Group 3 / 1m 4f Dee Ex Bee
15:40 Stewards' Cup Class 2 / 6f Growl
16:15 EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes Class 2 / 7f Glory
16:50 Qatar Handicap Class 2 / 7f Vale Of Kent
17:25 Qatar Apprentice Handicap Class 3 / 1m 1f Waarif

Qatar Sponsorship

Skyscrapers in Doha Qatar

In 2014 one of the biggest sponsorship deals in horse racing was struck, when Qatar has a £2million big accepted to sponsor Goodwood Racecourse over the coming 10 years. As part of the deal Qatar have not only committed to increasing prizemoney for races at the racecourse, but also invest into British horseracing as a whole. 

Behind the Goodwood deal is the Al Thani family, who already have a plethora of horses that they train around the world and widely established as one of the best. As part of the deal the naming rights to a lot of races on offer at Glorious Goodwood will now include ‘Qatar’ in that. For example, the Sussex Stakes is now the Qatar Sussex Stakes.

But, the biggest change is to that of the iconic festival name. Glorious Goodwood will not officially be known as the Qatar Goodwood Festival, a move that has been criticised by fans of the racetrack and meeting. The flip side is that sponsorship money will increase year on year for the festival, with a prize fund of £4.5million achieved for the 2017 festival. 

Goodwood Racecourse

The course itself is quite iconic, and not just because it’s relation to Glorious Goodwood. There are a number of courses within the circuit, including the Stewards Cup Course, Craven, Gratwicke, Bentnick and Cup Course. Whilst they all have their own names it really just signifies different sections on the track where horses start from, depending on the race. 

The course is one of the hardest flat racing tracks in the UK and is especially tough for horses that are new to the meeting. In fact, there have been a historically low number of horses that have ever won on debut at Goodwood. The main reason for this is that it’s got a very awkward right-hand turn and then after an uphill pull and almost immediate downhill towards the finish line.

Whilst you may link the downhill section to speed, it’s actually thought that races are won and lost on the turn and the uphill section. The switch between downhill and uphill is very quick and often means horses lose stride and lose their rhythm within the race. This is where having a good jockey that knows the track will often stand novice horses in good stead. 

Goodwood Festival Guide

The festival begins on Tuesday and runs through to Saturday, with top racing on each of the five days. There are 7 races per day making a total of 35. Included within these are three Group 1 races, five Group 2 races, five Group 3 races as well as a host of valuable handicaps.

As Glorious Goodwood is one of the pinnacles of the flat racing season, it will come as little surprise to hear that the best of the best brings out their big guns for the festival. The likes of Aiden O’Brien, John Gosden, Sir Henry Cecil and Richard Hannon Sr. have ben by far and away the most successful trainers over the last 5 years or so. If you were having to pick just one from the bunch, you’d have to say it was Aiden O’Brein, whose won both of the last 2 Nassau Stakes with Minding and Winter, together with the 2016 Sussex Stakes with The Gurkha. 

The successful jockeys have been a bit more spread out, but still include some of the best of the best. Recent winners from the Group 1 races have included Ryan Moore, William Buick, Jamie Spencer, Kieron Falon and Tom Queally. Below is an overview of each day along with the most recent winners of the feature races.

Day 1 – Tuesday

The opening day is seen as one of the most prestigious days racing in the calendar. Tens of thousands of people flock to the track and whilst its very much seen as a ‘social highlight’ the quality of racing does shine through.

The highlight of the day on the tack is that of Qatar Goodwood Cup. In fact, many would suggest that this recently upgraded Group 1 race is the highlight of the week. There have been some quality winners of the event in the past, including Double Trigger, Further Flight and more recently, Big Orange. With £500,000 up for grabs for 1stprize, it’s also one of the richest races of the week.

Last 5 Goodwood Cup Winners

2017 Stradivarius John Gosden Andrea Atenzi
2016 Big Orange Michael Ball Jamie Spencer
2015 Big Orange Michael Ball Jamie Spencer
2014 Cavalryman Saeed bin Suroor Kieron Fallon
2013 Brown Panther Andrew Black Richard Kingscote

Day 2 – Wednesday

Day 2 is all about one race; the Qatar Sussex Stakes. It’s a one mile sprint and comes with a hefty purse of £1,000,000 with £560,200 of that going to the winner. It’s the festival's flagship race these days and has been won by the likes of Frankel, Rock of Gibraltar and Henrythenavigator, the name just a few.

The Vintage Stakes and the Gordon Stakes are two more highly competitive races on the day as well.

Last 5 Sussex Stakes Winners

2017 Here Comes When Andrew Balding Jim Crowley
2016 The Gurkha Aiden O’Brien Ryan Moore
2015 Solow Freddy Head Maxime Guyon
2014 Kingman John Gosden James Doyle
2013 Toronado Richard Hannon Sr. Richard Hughes

Day 3 – Thursday

Ladies day! The style council are in town on the Friday as Ladies don their best dress and the blokes stick on their best suit. Whilst not one a race you target for betting, the day has become synonymous with The Magnolia Cup, a race that includes 12 novice female jockeys riding for charity at one of the biggest race meetings in the world. 

Thursday includes 3 Group races, including that of the Richmond Stakes, which is a Group 2 and run over just 6 furlongs. It is a hotly contested race and horses go at a staggering pace for the short sprint to the finish line. The other Group race comes in the form of the Lillie Langtry Stakes over one mile, six furlongs.

The pick of the races on day 3 however is the Nassau Stakes, one of just three Group 1 races throughout the week. The race comes with a huge prize pool of £600,000, with the winner picking up a cheque in excess of £340,260.

Last 5 Nassau Stakes Winners

2017 Winter Aiden O’Brien Ryan Moore
2016 Minding Aiden O’Brien Ryan Moore
2015 Legatissimo David Wachman Wayne Lordan
2014 Sultanina John Gosden William Buick
2013 Winsili John Gosden William Buick

Day 4 – Friday

The King George Stakes is the pick of the bunch on Friday. Another short and sharp race measuring at just five furlongs, horses often pick up speeds of over 40mph as they come past the grandstand in what has to be one of the more exhilarating races of the day.

Other notable mentions must go to the other Group 3 races, in the Oak Tree Stakes and the Glorious Stakes.

Last 5 King George Stakes Winners

2017 Battaash Charles Hills Jim Crowley
2016 Take Cover David Griffiths David Allan
2015 Muthmir William Haggas Paul Hanagan
2014 Take Cover David Grifiths Andrea Atzeni
2013 Moviesta Bryan Smart Paul Mulrennan

Day 5 – Saturday

The final day of the festival doesn’t go off with a whimper. The Stewards Cup is a 6f sprint sees a huge field of established sprinters and one of the most anticipated handicap races of the year.

Last 5 Stewards Cup Winners

2017 Lancelot Du Lac Dean Ivory Frankie Dettori
2016 Dancing Star Andrew Balding David Probert
2015 Magical Memory Charles Hills Frankie Dettori
2014 Intrinsic Robert Cowell Richard Hughes
2013 Rex Imperator William Haggas Neil Callan


Crowd at Glorious Goodwood Races in the Late 19th Century
Image Credit: Cassell & Co, Wikimedia Commons (cropped)

The racecourse was set up by the then Third Duke of Richmond. It was actually erected to allow service men and women to enjoy some relaxation time due to the Duke of Richmond being a Colonel in the army.

As the track started to pick up popularity, so did the intensity of the racing on show. By 1801 the meeting was already a success and as the two day layover didn’t seem enough, it was quickly expanded to 3 days, which was approved by the Jockey Club at the time. 

In 1812, we saw the first running of the Goodwood Cup, still highly considered to be one of the standout races at the meeting today. Whilst the festival wasn’t quite like we know it today, it is widely regarded that these were the first steps in what has become and iconic meeting for horse racing fans and punters alike. 

The meeting was originally run in March, but soon switched to the late July slot that we know today. 

By 1953 we had seen several running’s of the Sussex Stakes, Nassau Stakes and the Molecomb Stakes. But, the Glorious Goodwood weekend was still the only racing that took place at the racecourse. In the same year the event saw 53,000 people enter on a Tuesday, with some 21,000 situated on Trundel Hill, a number that has still not been surpassed today.

The event eventually increased to 5 days in 1970, seeing the Saturday be included to the schedule. 

Magnolia Cup

Female Jockeys During Horse Race

The Magnolia Cup has become one of the most important races at the meeting. But, it’s got nothing to do with who wins and much more about who takes part. It’s aimed to raise money for charity and each year 12 brave women who have little or even no riding ability go head to head.

The race comes with a few changes and each rider are able to wear their own silks for the race, designed by a range of companies and even schools from the local area. The money that’s raised from the race goes to a dedicated charity for the year and in 2017 that charity was Place2Bet, leading UK children’s mental health charity. 

The race has been running since 2010 and in that time, have been able to raise of £1.2million for charities across the UK. 

Frankel v Canford Cliffs 2011

The ‘Duel on the Downs’ was dubbed as one of the biggest races of the 21stCentury. It was a race that ironically only included 4 horses, but that didn’t matter as it was only about 2 horses who has been street ahead of their rivals for some time; Frankel and Canford Cliffs. 

Frankel came into the race undefeated and had won 7 from 7, most notably the 2,000 Guineas by an astonishing 6 lengths. He went off in the race as 8/13 favourite. Canford Cliffs was slightly older than Frankel and had seen losses earlier in his career. But, the horse had won 5 out of his last 5 Group 1 appearances, beating some huge names in the process, including Goldikova, Makfi and Twice Over.

Horse's Record Prior to the 2011 Sussex Stakes

 AgeRacesWinsGroup 1 WinsRatingTotal Prize Money
Frankel 3 7 7 3 130 £635,479
Canford Cliffs 4 10 7 5 127 £890,410

Frankel went on to win that race and also all his remaining 6 races following that. His Timeform rating when he retired of 147 is the highest that’s ever been seen and with 14 wins from 14 races, will go down as one of the greats. 

Following that race, Canford Cliffs was later retired to stud due to an injury.  With 7 wins from 11 races, he will always be regarded as a top horse and in 2011 was ranked second best miler in the world, one spot behind that of his nemesis, Frankel. 

Big Orange

Chestnut Horse

Big Orange will always be regarded as one of the best 2 milers that the Goodwood Cup has seen. Winning in 2015 and 2016, the horse, trained by Michael Ball, owned by Bill Gredley and ridden by Jamie Spencer become the first back to back winner of the race since Double Trigger in 1998. 

After Winning the Ascot Gold Cup in 2017 over 2 miles and 4 furlongs, Big Orange was favourite to complete a hat-trick of Goodwood Cup wins but narrowly missed out after finishing second to Stradivarious.

With 8 wins to his name from 24 races and over £1.2million in prizemoney earned so far, he’s definitely going to be regarded as one of the best over the turf at Goodwood. 

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