The Goodwood Cup is one of the most prestigious long-distance flat races on the British racing calendar. It is the showpiece event of Glorious Goodwood’s opening day, the festival which treats us to five consecutive days of top-class summer racing.
This was first run over 200 years ago in 1812 as a three mile contest. Now run over just two miles, this is still the second longest Group 1 in the country, behind only the 2½ mile Ascot Gold Cup. These two make up the first legs of the Stayers’ Triple Crown, followed by the Doncaster Cup in September.
Having become the first three year old to take this in 27 years when successful in 2017, Stradivarius followed up with victories in 2018, 2019 and 2020 to become the only four-time winner of the Goodwood Cup, and in consecutive years.
Goodwood Cup Course Map
Goodwood Cup Past Winners
|2020||Stradivarius||4/7||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori|
|2019||Stradivarius||4/5||John Gosden||Frankie Dettori|
|2018||Stradivarius||4/5||John Gosden||Andrea Atzeni|
|2017||Stradivarius||6/1||John Gosden||Andrea Atzeni|
|2016||Big Orange||11/4||Michael Ball||Jamie Spencer|
|2015||Big Orange||6/1||Michael Ball||Jamie Spencer|
|2014||Cavalryman||5/1||Saeed bin Suroor||Kieren Fallon|
|2013||Brown Panther||13/2||Tom Dascombe||Richard Kingscote|
|2012||Saddler's Rock||2/1||John Oxx||Johnny Murtagh|
|2011||Opinion Poll||9/2||Mahmood Al Zarooni||Frankie Dettori|
|2010||Illustrious Blue||8/1||William Knight||Jim Crowley|
|2009||Schiaparelli||6/4||Saeed bin Suroor||Frankie Dettori|
|2008||Yeats||8/15||Aidan O'Brian||Johnny Murtagh|
|2007||Allegretto||8/1||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|2006||Yeats||10/11||Aidan O'Brien||Michael Kinane|
|2005||Distinction||11/4||Sir Michael Stoute||Michael Kinane|
|2004||Darasim||11/8||Mark Johnston||Joe Fanning|
|2003||Persian Punch||7/2||David Elsworth||Martin Dwyer|
|2002||Jardines Lookout||10/1||Alan Jarvis||Michael Kinane|
|2001||Persian Punch||6/1||David Elsworth||Richard Quinn|
About the Goodwood Cup
There are several big meetings over the summer for both ardent and casual racing fans to enjoy and few are bigger than Glorious Goodwood. Headlining the opening day of the incredibly well-attended festival is the Goodwood Cup. A leading race for stayers, the contest puts horses to the test over a distance of two miles. Plenty of endurance is needed for the trip, even if the contest is far shorter than it used to be.
When originally created in 1812, the Goodwood Cup was a gruelling three-mile test but over the years the distance has gradually decreased, most recently in 1991. Much like its length, the grading of the test has also undergone several changes. It started off with Group 2 status under the present system of race grading but was demoted in 1985. A decade later it reclaimed its former classification before enjoying promotion to Group 1 in 2017 with a £200,000 purse increase to boot.
Three-year-olds are rarely up to the demands of the trip but in order to help them along, they are saddled with 15 pounds less than their older rivals. If they happen to be a filly as well then there’s an additional three pound allowance. Female horses have tended to steer clear of the test but we did see a winning mare, Allegretto, in 2007.
WINNERS COME BACK FOR MORE
Given that the focus is on stamina than speed for this race, growing a bit older isn’t much of a hindrance for most horses. The ability to stay competitive in this race at an older age has seen many Goodwood Cup winners return in an attempt to defend their crown. Recent champion Stradivarius won the race three years running between 2017 and 2019. Another recent winner, Big Orange, won the race back to back, while the likes of Persian Punch (2001, 2003) and Yeats (2006, 2008) stuck gold with a year in between. Since 1974, we’ve seen eight horses win this race more than once so former victors ought to be taken seriously.
MULTIPLE GOODWOOD CUP WINNERS
|Big Orange||Michael Bell||2015||2016|
|Persian Punch||David Elsworth||2001||2003|
|Double Trigger||Mark Johnston||1995||1997||1998|
|Further Flight||Barry Hills||1991||1992|
|Le Moss||Henry Cecil||1979||1980|
|Count Schomberg||William Leader||1896||1897|
|Charles the Twelfth||John Scott||1841||1842|
|Fleur de Lis||Unknown||1829||1830|
A CULTURED CUP
Back in the day, the Goodwood Cup enjoyed widespread international appeal with trainers worldwide trying their luck in the long distance event. In the 19th century winners included French representatives such as Jouvence, Monarque and Flageolet, the American bred, Starke and the undefeated Hungarian filly Kincsem to name a few. The diversity is not quite what is was with British and Irish horses dominating but still the odd foreigner pops up now and again. In 2009, the German bred Schiaparelli was first past the post while two French horses managed to place during the 2012 edition of the race.
DOUBLE TRIGGER MAKES IT A TRIPLE
Although Mark Johnston declared that Attraction is the horse he is most proud of, it is hard to think that Double Trigger wouldn’t feature very high up the list. Honoured in the form of a bronze statue at Doncaster Racecourse, the specialist stayer won 12 Group races during an immensely successful career. A quarter of these victories came in the Goodwood Cup as he became the first horse ever to win this race on three occasions. He perhaps could have made it four but in 1996 a hoof injury ruled the then five-year-old out of action.
AGE JUST A NUMBER
There’s been a definite shift towards older horses in this race over the past couple of decades. Between 1964 and 1997 not a single winner was aged older than six years old but this is a trend that had not continued. Since then we’ve seen six horses aged seven and above secure Goodwood Cup glory, Persian Punch being the oldest of the lot when winning as a 10-year-old in 2003. While his victory remains as an anomaly, it is an example of how age appears to be of little significance any more in this Group 1 contest. This does apply to the other end of the scale too though as Stradivarius ended a 27 year wait for a three-year-old winner in 2017.