Goodwood’s May and August festivals to return ... again and again

The Betfred Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Nursery Stakes was won by Empiricist, ridden by Pat Dobbs  Picture by Spencer Gale
The Betfred Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Nursery Stakes was won by Empiricist, ridden by Pat Dobbs Picture by Spencer Gale

Goodwood bosses bid farewell to a season of highs and weather-related lows - but revealed two of this season’s new features would return next year.

Racecourse managing director Adam Waterworth said the track’s provisional fixtures for 2013 included the three-day May and August festivals that proved so popular this year.

Both are seen as key fixtures in Goodwood’s season and officials believe they have secured them in their calendar for the forseeable future.

Waterworth spoke about building up the two ‘mini Glorious’ festivals as he reflected on a hectic year at Goodwood which was never dull.

He said the highlight of 2012 - which few could disagree with - was Frankel’s return to defend his Sussex Stakes title and admitted: “If I stay at Goodwood for the rest of my life I doubt I’ll see two better performances than Frankel’s.”

Sunday’s season finale, as reported in Waterworth’s Diary from the Downs column in the Chichester Observer, saw Goodwood give retiring John Dunlop a great send-off and Mark Johnston claim the Dick Hern Trophy for his 12 wins during the season.

Waterworth said he and the team were already looking ahead to 2013.

“We’ll have 19 meetings again, which will include the three consecutive days in May and the three together in August,” he told the Observer.

“We’re delighted to be continuing with the May and August festivals. They really help to define our season and give us a highlight either side of Glorious.

“The May festival is one we want to build up as a fixture where people can see top-quality flat racing and can expect the winners of the big races to return to Goodwood later in the season.

“Similarly, the August festival has the potential to become hugely popular. The Celebration Mile on the Saturday is the centrepiece but the meetings either side of it are when we can attract a different type of crowd.”

Also unchanged in general terms for 2013 will be Glorious, which will run from Tuesday, July 30, to Saturday, August 3.

Waterworth said the challenge would be how to fill the gap created by the retirement of the world’s best horse Frankel, who is expected to retire after Saturday’s Champion Stakes at Ascot - having been the star turn of the past two Glorious Goodwoods.

The MD said: “When you look back at our 2012, that will be most people’s highlight. One horse’s performances summed up the summer of flat racing - and we were lucky enough to be part of it.

“Frankel was a machine - a superstar - and the huge crowds who flocked here to see his return saw something special.

“There were highlights every day of the festival, though - like the Goodwood Cup, the King George Stakes and the Nassau and the Stewards’ Cup on the final day.”

Waterworth said they had just handed over £100,00 each to the two charities supported by the Celebrity Ladies’ Race on Ladies’ Day - Winston’s Wish and Spinal Research.