Goodwood MD: Glorious was everything we wanted it to be

Richard Hughes on The Fugue (third from left) leads the pack to win the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood  Picture by Chris Hatton
Richard Hughes on The Fugue (third from left) leads the pack to win the Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood Picture by Chris Hatton

What a week! I think it’s fair to say Glorious Goodwood was a fantastic festival and was everything we wanted it to be, writes Adam Waterworth.

Attendances were up on last year, which was a real positive – and perhaps a bit of a relief – in a year in which we were a little uncertain about the effect the Olympics and the weather would have on it.

As we expected, our racing stood alone as a top-class event in its own right. People didn’t stay away to watch the Games on TV – they came and were able to keep up to date with all the important Olympics action while they were here then watch it on TV later.

In fact it was great a couple of times to be able to announce some GB medals to the crowd. It added to the buzz.

As for the weather, it could have been better on the morning of racing almost every day but while we raced, we couldn’t really complain.

When you think of the downpours many other events have faced this summer, we were lucky.

The racing was fantastic every day, I thought. Each race day had a great story or two to emerge and there was a lovely mix of well-established and new names in the winner’s enclosure.

Frankel, of course, was a real high point of the week, as we knew he would be. He pulled in a huge crowd – to get 21,000, 2,000 more than his appearance last year, was phenomenal.

And I’ll never forget the sight of so many people packed around the parade ring before he ran in the Sussex Stakes – no-one had ever seen anything like it. The reception when he got when he came back in after winning was special, too.

Frankel’s win was part of a fabulous week for his jockey Tom Queally and trainer Sir Henry Cecil, even though they were pipped to the titles for most wins of the festival by Richard Hughes and Mark Johnston.

Hughes’ record on our racecourse is well-documented and even though he had a slow start to the week, he will have been delighted to clinch the top-rider title on The Fugue in the Nassau, our second Group 1 race.

Johnston had a disappointing July but has now been the top trainer at Glorious EIGHT times – incredible. There are a number of Yorkshire-based trainers who always support us and he is probably the leading one.

Having winners from Australia (Ortensia), Ireland (Saddler’s Rock) and Scotland (Hawkeyethenoo) added an extra dimension to the week’s line-up and can only help us attract more runners from far and wide in the future.

Operationally, we felt things ran well. The traffic on the Wednesday was very heavy coming in – that was because it was a different type of crowd, if no bigger, to those we saw later in the week.

There were far fewer groups that day coming in coaches and minibuses as they did for Ladies’ Day, for example, and we believe there were 2,000 more cars parking at the racecourse on Frankel day than we have ever had before.

I must pay tribute to clerk of the course Seamus Buckley and his team. It was a difficult week for them with unpredictable weather but they coped magnificently. When we had a couple of horses slipping on day two, the team responded immediately and made sure there were no further problems.

We’ve already had our initial review meeting – we always do that on the Monday morning straight after the festival – and once again it appears there is nothing major we need to change for next year, just minor things.

More immediately in our thoughts now is our next big meeting: our new August bank holiday festival, which runs over three days from Friday to Sunday.

Adam Waterworth