Goodwood bosses feel their long-term efforts to attract overseas runners to their big festival week are starting to pay off.
Entries for some of the big races at the 2019 Qatar Goodwood Festival include horses from Japan, the USA, Singapore and a number of European countries.
While none is yet guaranteed to race, officials are confident a number will do so – and say that and the fact some of Glorious week’s highlights will now be shown live on TV in Japan, the States and Australia show that, after a long wait, Goodwood is going global.
The festival runs from Tuesday, July 30, to Saturday, August 3, and the big-race line-ups are taking shape nicely, with quality and quantity looking good at this stage.
Racecourse manager Alex Eade is delighted a healthy number of oversea entries. “Fingers crossed, if it all comes off I think we’re finally delivering on what we’ve talked about for many years. It could be the most international Glorious Goodwood there’s ever been,” he said.
“It’s been about building relationships. You have to spend time getting to know people (international connections) and flying around to see them. It’s not easy.
“The Japanese runner, Deirdre, entered in the Nassau Stakes is really exciting and racing is going to be shown live in Japan, live in America and live in Australia, all for the first time. That’s what we have been aiming for. It’s pleasing to see.
“There’s quite a few from Europe too, including France and Germany. We feel we’re on the radar now.
“The Nassau will be a brilliant race, possibly the second best of the week after the Goodwood Cup.
“Hopefully Deirdre runs well and last year’s winner Wild Illusion is in at this stage. There’s good numbers there, pretty much all those we’d want, and the fillies make up a strong division this year.”
Clerk of the course Ed Arkell, who with Eade and Goodwood’s sport MD Adam Waterworth has been globe-trotting to meet connections and tempt them to the South Downs, said: “We’re very pleased with the international entries.
A number could come from Sweden after Goodwood bosses set up a new partnership offering incentives to horses who run at certain Swedish fictures and at Glorious.
Arkell said: “Apart from Deirdre, we have got Lim’s Cruiser from Singapore, who ran in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot and the July Cup and all being well will come to us from the Lennox.
“Then there’s the horse of Wesley Ward’s – Maven – who is being aimed here for the Molecomb and who won in a Group 3 in France a couple of weeks ago. Wesley was going to run a horse in the Molecomb in 2017 and the ground went against him which was disappointing.
“I was out in Sweden a fortnight ago for the qualifying races they ran to get free travel and entry to come over here. There is plenty of interest and hopefully we’ll convert that to three or four runners.
“In the Golden Mile, there a Danish horse Learn By Heart trained by Bent Olsen. We have a couple of German horses entered and interested, particularly in the Oak Tree Stakes.
“We have someone who helps us out in France and they are optimistic we could have quite a few, probably more towards the back end of the week.
“Then there’s Ireland. Aidan O’Brien always supports us very well, for which we’re very grateful. We’ve also got the Australian sprinter Houtzen, who ran in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. She was unlucky. She’s now trained by Martyn Meade although is technically an Australian horse and she may go in the King George Stakes.”
“That side of things is going well. It’s taken time.”