Music, merry-go-rounds, marvellous horses: Goodwood has it all

The crowd watch Sunday's racing in bright sunshine   Picture by Malcolm Wells 141691
The crowd watch Sunday's racing in bright sunshine Picture by Malcolm Wells 141691

TWO different fixtures – two very different audiences. But each of Goodwood’s two fixtures over last weekend worked in their own way.

On Friday night, a huge crowd poured into the racecourse to enjoy a heady evening of summer racing and live music as the fourth year of the track’s Three Friday Night series began in fine style.

Then on Sunday it was family time as racegoers made the most of the track’s first ‘Sunday School’ fixture which gave them a chance to see behind the scenes before racing began and doubled up as a fundraiser for the Injured Jockeys’ Fund.

Friday’s fixture sold out weeks ago as fans snapped up tickets to see Chase & Status in action after an aborbing card of six races.

There were some issues related to disorder later in the evening and racecourse MD Adam Waterworth said: “We’v been working with the police to look into those and find the people responsible.

“But the atmosphere during racing was tremendous. I think a greater proportion of the crowd arrived early to watch the whole of the racing and really got involved. We’ve always said whatever music we put, the racing is a very important part of these nights.

On the track, the feature race was the EBF Stallions Breeding Winners Fillies’ Stakes, claimed by the 9/4 favourite Stepping Out, ridden by Richard Kingscote for trainer Tom Dascombe - the duo who won the Goodwood Cup last season with Brown Panther. But it was a close call as the three-year-old got up by a neck to defeat Tom Queally on Divine.

The Advanced Resource Managers EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes threw up a two-year-old to watch as the flat season unfolds – Mark Johnston-trained Jungle Cat (5/1), ridden by Joe Fanning, took the honours two lengths ahead of Jim Crowley on Richard Hannon’s 14/1 shot Sixty. Frankie Dettori on the 8/15 favourite Aledaid was third.

Sunday’s fixture – a new one in the Goodwood calendar – benefitted from being on one of the warmest days of the year so far.

Waterworth said: “It was a superb day – the weather was lovely and there were so many families and children enjoying the entertainment we put on and the racing too.

“A lot came in early for the ‘Sunday School’ to see behind the scenes and hopefully they learned a lot. The Injured Jockeys’ Fund did well and one of the highlights for me was the applause for Sire De Grugy, the National Hunt racehorse of the year, when he was paraded.

“The day was a big success and we’d like to make it an annual feature.”

There was success on Sunday for the racecourse’s 2014 ambassador and for the jockey he succeeded in the role both enjoyed victories at the track’s newest race fixture.

Harry Bentley is this year’s racecourse profile-raiser in the riders’ ranks and he got off the mark for the Goodwood season by winning the Veterans’ Stakes on Doctor Parkes (7/1) for trainer Stuart Williams.

Later Hayley Turner – who was last season’s ambassador – took the IJF JohnWoodman Stakes on Clockmaker (10/1), trained by Conor Dore.

The race was named after a former West Sussex jockey who died earlier this year. His career had been cut short many years ago by a broken neck sustained in a fall and the IJF looked after him long-term after the accident. John’s brother Steve still trains horses in Lavant.

The day offered a chance for race-goers – youjngsters in particular – to learn about horses and racing, getting a chance to see behind the scenes and meet the people who make a race day tick.

Other successes on the track included another win for West Sussex trainer Amanda Perrett, who saw Kingscote, himself continuing his fine Goodwood form, take the Injured Jockeys Fund Oaksey House Maiden Stakes on 3/1 chance Pack Leader.

They race again at Goodwood tomorrow (Friday) evening, when a six-race card – which has attracted another good number of entries – will be followed by a DJ set by Naughty Boy.

Our tips for June 13 racing: 6.15 Bravo Echo, 6.50 L’Etacq, 7.25 Mount Logan, 8.00 Oasis Fantasy, 8.35 Hanno, 9.05 Souville