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Tuesday, 11 December, 2018

Buckley's wish for Lennox to be a Group 1 groundbreaker

Seamus Buckley: smiling through the rain at his last Goodwood festival
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Retiring Goodwood clerk of the course Seamus Buckley reflected on his last and most testing Glorious festival and revealed his parting wish is for another groundbreaking Group 1 at the meeting.

The 65-year-old, who has six more racedays to oversee before retiring following the fixture on Sunday, October 15, wants to see the Lennox Stakes, won in thrilling fashion this year by Breton Rock, become the first Group 1 for older horses over seven furlongs.

Buckley, bringing the curtain down after being involved in 23 festivals, said: "I've always wanted the Lennox promoted to Group 1 but people are a bit cold about having a seven-furlong Group 1 as well as a Group 1 mile race in the Sussex.

"They say the same horses will want to run in both races, which I think's a load of rubbish. It would give a horse who does not get a mile an opportunity over seven furlongs to win a Group 1.

"I think we'll get it eventually as there is no Group 1 race over that distance for older horses in Britain." 

Goodwood has tinkered with the five-day race programme with a Group 1 feature on each of the first three days and Buckley gave the latest changes the thumbs-up.

He said: "The changes worked fine, although it usually takes about three years before things settle down. The Nassau Stakes has been a little overshadowed on occasions by the Stewards' Cup, which is now worth £250,000, so it's nice it now has its own day.


"Winter, who won the Nassau, was very impressive and one of the nicest fillies we've seen here in recent years – although Minding was very special a year ago. It's a top-class race now and one that owners and breeders want to win.

"I suppose this year's Sussex Stakes will be looked back on as a little disappointing because Churchill didn't run and the weather conditions were so horrible, but what can we do? And Here Comes When was a brave winner."

Buckley highlighted the 2011 Sussex showdown as one of the most memorable in his time.


"Frankel and Canford Cliffs made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up – unusually the horses were clapped going to the start and it was very emotional to see how people were so devoted to them."

Reflecting on a challenging meeting, which started in bright sunshine on Tuesday but deteriorated into a mudbath with 49mm of rain on Wednesday, Buckley said: "I am relieved now because it's been a very trying week due to all the rain we had on Wednesday.

"The number of non-runners due to the weather was a little disappointing but we were able to keep the show on the road and things could have been a lot worse."

If you liked this article:

How the Lennox Stakes was won

Sussex Stakes report




I've always wanted the Lennox promoted but people are a bit cold about having a seven-furlong Group 1 as well as a Group 1 mile race
E.W. Terms
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