Glorious Goodwood 2021: essential information for the Flat racing showpiece
When is it, where is it, and who should I look out for across the five days?
Always a highlight of the summer Flat season, Glorious Goodwood takes on extra significance this year with the 36 races over a fabulous five days of racing set to be savoured by a teeming set of enthusiastic spectators starved of live racing action for too long.
The best jockeys, trainers and horses in Britain and Ireland will meet for the festival, which runs from Tuesday, July 27 to Saturday, July 31. The meeting is headlined by three Group 1 contests, the Goodwood Cup, Sussex Stakes and Nassau Stakes.
When and where does the meeting take place?
The festival is staged at Goodwood racecourse in the picturesque Sussex countryside every year in late July, often stretching into early August.
The meeting begins with a bumper eight-race card on Tuesday, with racing commencing at 1.50pm and the last race scheduled for 5.50pm. There are seven races on each day from then on with a 5.20pm off-time for the final races.
All five days of racing will be broadcast on ITV's main channel. From Tuesday to Friday, coverage will run from 1.30pm-4.30pm, while on Saturday the broadcast begins 20 minutes earlier at 1.10pm. The Opening Show will preview all of Saturday's action from 9.30am-10.30am on ITV4, while there will be full uninterrupted coverage on Racing TV for every day of the festival.
Why is the meeting so important?
The hint is in the name. The meeting sits at the high point of the British summer and attracts the biggest and best jockeys, trainers and horses in Europe with prize-money in excess of £4.8 million over the five days.
In addition to three Group 1s, there are five Group 2s, five Group 3s and a couple of valuable and sought-after handicap prizes to round out a top week of racing.
At the mid-point of the season, we have a handle on who the top stars are of each division and they often take each other on in some mouthwatering clashes.
What are the big races?
After the Chesterfield Cup Handicap and Vintage Stakes get the ball rolling, the first feature race arrives in the form of this Group 2 over seven furlongs. Last year's winner Space Blues could make his return and attempt to emulate his immediate predecessor Sir Dancealot, who won back-to-back runnings of the Lennox in 2018 and 2019.
The first Group 1 of the week has been sadly robbed of a second showdown between the legendary Stradivarius and his Ascot conqueror Subjectivist after the last-named suffered a season-ending injury. Instead, it will be left to the chasing pack of Spanish Mission and Trueshan, among others, to deny Stradivarius a fifth consecutive victory in this two-mile contest.
The £1m Sussex Stakes is usually the highlight of the week for many as Europe's best milers clash in a mix of generations and sexes, and this year is likely to be no different. Unfortunately, the race has been denied another highly anticipated clash after John Gosden revealed Palace Pier had suffered from a blood disorder, which rules him out of a showdown with his year-younger rival Poetic Flare. The Jim Bolger-trained star is now a firm favourite to add further gloss to a sensational season that has featured victories in the 2,000 Guineas and the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Wednesday's action is complemented by a pair of Group 3s, the Oak Tree Stakes (2.25) run over 7f and the Molecomb Stakes (3.00) for two-year-olds.
Thursday is the traditional Ladies' day and, in among the fantastic fashion, some top-class fillies and mares will showcase their ability in the third Group 1 of the week. Run over 1m2f, the continent's leading females will do battle with star names in contention this year including Royal Ascot runner-up Audarya, 1,000 Guineas winner Mother Earth and the popular Lady Bowthorpe, who is looking for a breakthrough Group 1 triumph.
The Group 2 Richmond Stakes (2.25) – a showcase for some of the year's brightest two-year-olds – and the Group 3 Gordon Stakes (3.00) complement the action.
Hard-luck stories are commonplace in this competitive, big-field handicap worth £150,000 in which the draw tends to be crucial, with six of the last seven winners coming from stalls one to five. The open nature of the race is reflected in the fact no trainer has won this contest more than once in the last decade, although Ryan Moore is a jockey to keep on side having won the Golden Mile in three straight years between 2016 and 2018.
Like Stradivarius, the awesome Battaash is also aiming for a fifth straight Glorious Goodwood victory and he is the overwhelming favourite in this Group 2 sprint over five furlongs. Winner of this event in the last four years, including as odds-on favourite the last three, Battaash must prove he is still at the top of his game at the age of seven after weakening to finish fourth in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The final Group contest of the week is another exclusively for fillies and mares and is a stamina test run over 1m6f. John Gosden has won three of the last five runnings of the Lillie Langtry but does not have any contenders this year, with Royal Ascot winner Wonderful Tonight and Lancashire Oaks scorer Alpinista heading the entries at this stage.
The origins of this sought-after heritage handicap, featuring a prize-fund of £225,000, date back to the 1830s and almost all of Britain's top yards have an eye on this six-furlong charge. The large field size – there is a maximum of 28 runners – can make it a minefield for punters with three of the last four winners priced 20-1 or bigger.
Can I still buy tickets?
Last year's event was held entirely behind closed doors with a planned pilot event, which would have seen the track hosting 5,000 spectators, called off at the last minute. This year, track officials are planning for capacity crowds and general admission tickets and hospitality packages are still available here.
Who should I bet on at Glorious Goodwood?
Have a look at the cards and check out our free bet offers to start with, then stay up to date with the Racing Post website, mobile app and newspaper for our expert betting advice and all the latest news in the run-up to the big week.
. . . and don't forget about Galway
Running alongside and beyond Goodwood is the seven-day extravaganza of racing that is Galway's summer fixture, Ireland's largest horseracing festival.
The action begins on Monday, July 26 and runs the length of the week until its concluding card on Sunday, August 1.
The festival features a mix of Flat and jumps racing with a total of 53 races scheduled for the week. Highlights include the Galway Plate on Wednesday and the Galway Hurdle on Thursday, which carries a prize-fund of €250,000.
If you want more on Goodwood and Galway . . .
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