Glorious Goodwood: Waterworth delighted with festival’s start

The early part of Glorious has seen some big fields and competitive action  Picture by Malcolm Wells
The early part of Glorious has seen some big fields and competitive action Picture by Malcolm Wells

We may not have had ideal weather for the start of Glorious Goodwood – but that has to be about our only complaint, writes Adam Waterworth.

In fact, even the elements didn’t do their worst for us. After some rain on Tuesday morning, it held off for racing and the only thing missing was some sunshine.

And in any case, I’d say the quality of racing – and the sheer number of horses we had in a number of the contests – more than made up for it being overcast.

We couldn’t have wished for a better day’s racing to kick us off - nor for better ground for it to be staged on, something Seamus Buckley and his team must take great credit for after the wet summer we have had.

We were pleased to have just over 13,000 through the gates for the opening day – that’s about the number we had last year. We feel we’ve done well to keep the figure up given the poor summer and the fact the Olympics are on.

I said in the Observer last week I didn’t feel the Olympics being held at the same time would have an adverse effect on the effect, and think that’s been borne out so far.

Chachamaidee’s win for Sir Henry Cecil and Tom Queally in the bet365 Lennox Stakes was one of the day-one highlights - and it followed the same duo’s success in the bet365 Gordon Stakes with Noble Mission (who I’m pleased to say I backed in the tipping competition on the Observer website and on local radio).

I read a piece last week questioning whether Queally could be our top jockey this year and if you look at the rides he has still to come, it’s not beyond him. It’s a shame Sir Henry is unwell and unable to be here, but I’m sure he’s been enjoying his success from afar.

Noble Mission battled well and when you think Michelangelo, who won well here in a strong race at the May Festival, was well beaten into third, I think that shows how good a win that was for Frankel’s brother. He is be one to watch as the St Leger draws near.

William Buick will be another with a say in the battle to be our leading jockey and it was nice to see him and John Gosden continue their superb season with a win in the Casion at bet365 EBF Maiden Stakes with Blessington. I’m sure we’ll see them back in the winner’s enclosure before the week’s out.

It was also fantastic to have trainers like Mark Johnston and Mick Channon – people who have been so supportive of Goodwood over many years – having winners early in the week.

Their support helps make Glorious what it is.

Wednesday, of course, was very special. I don’t think anyone who was there to see Frankel win the Sussex Stakes for a second successive year will ever forget it. The race might have been predictable but it was a magical occasion that will live long in the memory.

And on any other day other than Frankel’s day, having a winner called Olympic Glory just as Team GB were taking gheir first gold medal would have been so much more of a headline. That in itself was a terrific story and, along with news of those two GB golds, really lifted our fantastic 21,500 crowd.

If you’ve been with us for a day or more already this week, I hope you’ve enjoyed the experience. If not, why not join us before the festival ends? I’m pretty certain you’ll enjoy the experience – and who knows, we may even get a bit more sunshine by the time we wrap it up on Saturday evening.

Adam Waterworth