Goodwood racecourse MD: We’re already planning for Glorious 2012

They're past the winning post in the Coutts Glorious Stakes  Picture by Chris Hatton
They're past the winning post in the Coutts Glorious Stakes Picture by Chris Hatton

Adam Waterworth, managing director of Goodwood racecourse, gives his verdict on his first Glorious Goodwood at the helm - and pays tribute to the many people who made it special

What an unbelievable week. I don’t think that’s too strong a word to describe this year’s Glorious Goodwood. It was truly memorable for everyone involved.

The racing was first-class throughout and in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes, we had a real defining racing moment.

We gave the Duel on the Downs a huge build-up and there’s always the risk when you do that an event won’t live up to the hype. Well, this one did – and probably even exceeded expectations.

I have never seen anything quite like the way the crowd applauded Frankel and Canford Cliffs down to the start, or the reception they both got – even the beaten horse – when they came back in.

In Frankel we saw a truly outstanding horse – the world’s best racehorse. I don’t think everyone realised when they were actually watching the race how good that run from Frankel was. It’s one of those that the more you watch it back, the better it gets. And I don’t think there’s any doubt the Duel on the Downs helped lift the whole week.

We had highlights every day. There was Frankie Dettori’s win in the Artemis Goodwood Cup, Hayley Turner winning the totesport Mile for her first win at the festival, and then, of course, Midday winning her third Markel Insurance Nassau Stakes.

It was lovely for Prince Khalid Abdullah, Sir Henry Cecil and Tom Queally to win both bour Group 1 races. They thoroughly deserved their successes and you could tell what it meant to them.

The atmopshere around the racecourse was something we were delighted with. For me, that was more pleasing than the fact crowd numbers were up every day.

We always expected Wednesday to be up, but not by 13 per cent. And an overall increase of sever per cent for the week was excellent.

Advance sales were always strong but you’re never able to predict fully how those will be boosted by people turning up on the day. We did well in that respect – and even the weather was kind to us all week.

We feel new innovations like the new bar in the Gordon Enclosure, and the live music we put on together with the extended opening hours for the bars after racing, all helped make the week the success it was.

The feedback we’ve had has been very good from all parties.

I must congratulate our clerk of the course Seamus Buckley and his team on producing and maintaining a superb racing surface. We started the week on ground that was just about perfect and kept up those standards all the way through the week.

We had Misty For Me pull out of the Nassau because the ground wasn’t softer, but you can’t change the going for one horse.

We’ve already started our wash-up meetings. I’m a firm believer the best time to review a festival like this and plan the next one is straight away, while everything’s fresh in the mind.

So planning for Glorious Goodwood 2012 has already begun. There’s a lot from this year we can do the same, and some things – including the flow of the race programme through the week – that we’ll tweak.

I’d welcome any comments or suggestions from people who were here. But all in all, I hope you all enjoyed it as much as we did.

Adam Waterworth