It was King Edward VII who once referred to the Glorious Goodwood Festival as a garden party. Of course, he neglected to mention the real reason this gathering in Great Britain is so special: the outstanding horse racing action. For five days, beginning at the end of July, some of the finest Thoroughbreds in Great Britain and all across the world compete at one of the most unique and spectacular settings for the sport of horse racing.
During those five days in late July and occasionally early August, 35 races are contested, with many of those races being group events pitting superstar equines against one another. In the meantime, the festival also acts as one of the premier events of the social season among the British upper class. In fact, thousands of racing fans of all stripes come out to see the thrilling action and enjoy the festive atmosphere.
For many people, the Glorious Goodwood Festival represents an opportunity to bust out their favorite summer styles. But for others, the five-day event is all about the horse racing betting action that they have at their fingertips. And that goes for the folks who can’t get out to England to watch, taking part instead via the use of Glorious Goodwood betting sites.
The History of Goodwood Race Course and the Goodwood Racing Festival
What makes the Goodwood Race Course so special is that it’s located on the estate of the Earls of Richmond and Lennox in an area of South Downs National Park.
The nearest town is Chichester in West Sussex. It’s an extremely scenic area right near the coast with views of the Isle of Wight in the distance, along with the occasional enveloping fog for atmosphere.
Racing began in earnest at this location at the behest of the third Duke of Richmond. He hosted the events to entertain his fellow members of the Sussex militia. On the first day of racing at Goodwood, the Duke rode a winner, while the future King George IV won a race on the third day.
Eventually, the races that would become the backbone of the Goodwood Racing Festival began to take shape in the 19th century. After World War II caused a hiatus in horse racing in the 1940s, the event’s popularity picked right back up. A Tuesday program in 1953 attracted a record attendance of over 55,000.
The advent of television helped matters, as the broadcasts of the races began in 1956. On top of that, the unique character of the Goodwood track, with its odd twists, turns, and undulations, made for thrilling viewing. Horse racing bettors also found the races compelling, filling up Glorious Goodwood betting shops all across Great Britain on the days of the Festival.
Glorious Goodwood Festival in Society
In the British societal scene, the festival holds a special place. After events like the Henley Regatta, Wimbledon tennis, and another horse racing festival, the Royal Ascot, the Glorious Goodwood acts as the final event of the summer season. There are a lot of hardcore racing fans, but there are also many people who come to see and be seen.
There are three different enclosures available for spectators, although the Richmond enclosure is restricted to members of the estate and invitees. The Gordon enclosure is a kind of middle-ground between formal and casual, while the Lennox enclosure is more for families and picnickers. No matter where you sit, the views of the racetrack at Goodwood are pristine.
As far as the fashion is concerned, you can get away with a more casual look than if you were visiting, for example, the Royal Ascot Festival. King Edward VII set the tone when he appeared in 1907 wearing a linen suit and Panama hat. Ever since then, Goodwood has established its own unique sense of style among the attendees.
Racing at the Glorious Goodwood Festival
Each day at this event, which is officially known as the Qatar Goodwood Festival, but informally called Glorious Goodwood, features seven races which makes 35 races over a five-day period. The combined purse for those races sits at approximately 5.5 million British pounds. There are several Group races, which are races contested for high stakes and featuring only the very best horses competing.
On Thursday, which is Ladies Day at the festival, a race for amateur women jockeys known as the Magnolia Cup takes center stage and is earmarked for charity. Meanwhile, there are also three Group One races on the docket over the five-day stretch. These feature elite horses and are the racing highlights of the festival.
Here is a look at those Group One events.
This is the premier event, in terms of both prestige and purse, of the entire festival. The Sussex Stakes is contested at one mile for three-year-olds and up. It carries a purse of one million British pounds.
The Sussex Stakes originated in 1841. Originally, the race was held at six furlongs and was the dominion of two-year-old horses. Because the fields were small, organizers eventually switched the race to an event for three-year-olds at a mile. Eventually, four-year-olds were let into the fields, and, in 1975, all horses over three years old were made eligible.
Perhaps the reason that the Sussex Stakes holds such an exalted place in the roster of races at the Glorious Goodwood festival is the impressive list of winners. The outstanding miler Brigadier Gerard, who lost just one time in 18 races, won this race in 1971. Earlier that year, he had beaten fellow superstar Mill Reef at the 2000 Guineas Stakes.
In 2000, Giant’s Causeway would win in an amazing season that also included a win at the Royal Ascot Festival. He would eventually finish an impressive second in the United States at the Breeders’ Cup Classic in his first ever race on dirt. Two years later, Rock of Gibraltar captured the Sussex Stakes as part of an incredible string of seven straight Group One victories.
Because the race was restricted to only two-year-olds for much of its existence, repeat winners were lacking. It was fitting then that, once a repeat winner did occur, it was a legendary horse. Frankel, who would retire undefeated after 14 career victories, won the Sussex in both 2011 and 2012.
Great Britain is one of the top spots in the world for Thoroughbred races that run over extra-long distances, much longer than traditional Triple Crown races. The horses that perform in these races are known as “stayers” for their ability to handle the extra length. And, in terms of stayers’ races, none get much better than the Goodwood Cup, a key part of the Glorious Goodwood Festival.
Enacted in 1808, the Goodwood was originally even longer, sitting at three furlongs. It was reduced to two miles and five furlongs for a long period of time, but it settled at two miles in 1991. The current purse for the race sits at 500,000 British pounds.
In 1878, the Goodwood was graced by the presence of Kincsem, owner of the most incredible record in all of horse racing history. The mare bred in Hungary made her way all over the European continent, winning 54 races without ever losing once. She captured the Goodwood for one of the most memorable wins in her amazing career.
The Stayers’ Triple Crown in Great Britain is an unofficial trio of races that includes the Gold Cup at Ascot and the Doncaster Cup, with the Goodwood Cup settling in as the middle leg. In 1995, Double Trigger became the most recent horse to win all three in the same calendar year. Double Trigger would stick around to win the Goodwood Cup in 1997 and 1998, the only horse to win the race three times.
Among great stayers, Yeats holds a special place in British history. He won four consecutive Gold Cups at Ascot from 2006 to 2009. He added two Goodwood Cup victories in 2006 and 2008. Stradivarius continued the grand tradition of Cup champions by winning back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018.
On the final day for Glorious Goodwood betting, the Nassau Stakes takes center stage. This Group One event pits the finest three-year-old and older fillies against each other for a purse of 600,000 British Pounds. It’s held at approximately 1 ¼ mile.
The race was first created in 1840 to commemorate the special friendship between the fifth Duke of Richmond and the House of Orange-Nassau. At different times during its existence, the Nassau Stakes was contested at one mile and a mile-and-a-half before settling at its current distance. In 1975, the race was opened up to four-year-old mares and upward after it was originally only restricted to three-year-old fillies.
Interestingly, just a year after it was open to the aged horses, the first ever two-time champion was crowned when Roussalka followed up her win in 1975 as a filly with a victory as a mare the next year. In the years from 2009 to 2011, Midday became the first three-time champion; she would also pick up a win in the Breeders’ Cup Fillies and Mares Turf in 2010.
Speaking of that Breeders’ Cup race, Ouija Board won it in 2004 and 2006. In that same season of 2004, after winning impressively at the Epsom Oaks and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, she chalked up a victory in the Nassau as well.
Glorious Goodwood Betting FAQ
With so many races held at so many disciplines during these five days in summer, it’s understandable that bettors from all over the world would find it an enticing event. And most people will do their wagering online. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about betting on the Glorious Goodwood Festival online:
What Kind of Bets Can Be Made on the Races?
The Glorious Goodwood Festival races will generally give you a choice between two types of horse racing wagers. There are the straight bets, which allow you to pick a single horse to win or to finish in the top three in the order of finish (a place). This is a relatively simple bet and one that gives you the best chances of winning.
Exotic bets, sometimes called accumulators, are much more difficult. For example, you might try to pick the top three horses in the order of finish in a particular race. Or you might attempt to pick the winner of four races in a row.
These bets give you great odds because a lot of things have to go right for you to win them. As a result, you can generally make a decent amount of money from just a small wager in this way. But it takes a great deal of handicapping skill and, usually, a bit of luck, to make that happen.
What Strategies Are the Best for Glorious Goodwood Betting Online?
For an in-depth primer on horse racing betting strategies, check out this page. For specifically real money Glorious Goodwood betting, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the particulars and peculiarities of the track. For example, some of the races might favor speed horses, while others might hew to those that come from off the pace.
In addition, you can take a look at how certain post positions perform on the various Goodwood courses to see if there is any advantage to be gained there. You might also take a close look at the jockeys and trainers. Many have long track records at the festival and have proven adept at winning the high-stakes, high-pressure races that are up for grabs all through the festival.
What Are the Best Glorious Goodwood Betting Sites?
The best horse racing betting sites are those that have developed a solid reputation over a relatively long period of time. Choosing a trusted site takes a lot of the guesswork away from you. If a site has been in existence for several years and has amassed a nice record of reviews from horseplayers, that’s a pretty good sign that you’re on the right track.
By the same token, it’s easy to get fooled by new sites that promise you the moon. Yet if others are shying away from it, that’s a good sign that they might not be on the level. Do your research before committing to deposit your money in any account, lest you run the risk of losing it all. You’ll want your experience betting on the Glorious Goodwood Festival to be a positive one. Finding the right site can help you toward that goal. That’s why it’s best to make sure and take your time with that decision.
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