Goodwood aim to break Glorious attendance record

They're under starter's orders for the third Qatar Goodwood Festival / Picture by Tommy McMillan
They're under starter's orders for the third Qatar Goodwood Festival / Picture by Tommy McMillan
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Bosses at Goodwood say Glorious week is on course for an attendance record.

They want to attract a whopping 105,000 race-goers to the five days of action – and they say advance sales suggest it could happen.

The site build is going very well – everything is on track. I’d call it controlled chaos! There’s a lot happening, as you can imagine, but everything is under control.

Alex Eade

The previous record of 103,457 was set in 2015, the first year that Qatar’s sponsorship gave Glorious a higher profile.

Racecourse manager Alex Eade said planning for the week was going well and everything was set for a memorable festival.

The condition of the track is good and the weather forecast for the festival – which runs from Tuesday, August 1, to Saturday 5 – is reasonable.

Eade said: “The site build is going very well – everything is on track. I’d call it controlled chaos!

“There’s a lot happening, as you can imagine, but everything is under control.

“Now I can’t wait for Tuesday to arrive and that first race to be under way.”

There is a new look to the week this year with the Qatar Goodwood Cup upgraded from Group 2 to Group 1 and switched from the Thursday to opening race day.

That should ensure Glorious starts with a bang – especially with Big Orange coming back to try to win the 206-year-old race for a third successive time.

The contest’s upgrade and the ‘Big Orange story’ have helped bring about an increase in the number of people set to come to the festival’s first day. Stronger-than-usual interest in the Tuesday and Wednesday are the factors giving bosses confidence they can beat the attendance record.

All the big races which have had entries coming in early look like having high-quality fields.

Eade added: “Entries are looking really strong so far and obviously from today the fields for all races will fall into place.

“I think entries indicate a higher quality of field this year, perhaps with some races slightly down on numbers.

“Ticket sales have been strong. Saturday will be the first day to sell out (to 23,000 capacity) and we’d expect Thursday (Ladies’ Day) and Friday to follow suit.

“To break our record for the week we’d need more than 13,000 on day one and more than 18,000 on day two.

“If we can get around 15,000 on Tuesday and 20,000 on Wednesday, we’ll be delighted.”

The Goodwood Cup’s switch to Tuesday means each of the first three days of racing will contain a Group 1 race, with the £1m Qatar Sussex Stakes the highlight on Wednesday and the Qatar Nassau Stakes the centrepiece of Thursday.

Friday’s highlights include the Betfred Mile and the Qatar King George Stakes, while Saturday’s showpiece is the Qatar Stewards’ Cup.

STEVE BONE

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