Glorious Goodwood Festival History

Today’s event has its origins way back in the early 1800’s when the third Duke of Richmond saved the day for the Officers of the Sussex Militia by offering his estate as an alternative to the original racetrack at Pentworth Park, which was no longer available to the dashing young soldiers and their equine charges.

A race course was laid out on the Goodwood Estate in an area formally known as ‘The Harroway’, and although the first meet was an informal gathering of men and horses, it proved to be so popular that the following year the meet was extended to three days of racing organised under Jockey Club rules.

It turned out to be a right royal showdown between the Duke of Richmond’s horse, Cedar, and Trumpator, owned by the Prince of Wales, who would later become King George 1V. Truly the Sport of Kings, both the Duke and his future Monarch shared the spoils – both their horses were triumphant over the three days of racing!

A century later, one of the most defining characteristics of Glorious Goodwood was introduced by yet another prominent figure of British Royalty. Instead of continuing the trend of Ascot and Epsom with morning suits and top hats the acceptable attire, King Edward V11 began a new trend, which is still fashionable today – linen suits and panama hats!

Over the decades the event became more and more popular, especially following World War 11, and in 1953 all spectator records where smashed when over 55 000 people turned up at Goodwood to witness a single fixture – the Glorious Goodwood! In the following 54 years these spectator figures have never been bettered!

It was only in the 1970’s that the meet was extended to cover five days of racing, additional fixtures were added, and the original wooden stand knocked up in 1802 was eventually replaced by a modern, concrete stand. It seemed apt that Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth 11 was at hand to inaugurate the new-look Goodwood.

Over the years, Glorious Goodwood has had its fair share of champions:

The legendary Lester Piggott who in 1974 rode no fewer than 9 winners over the five days
Sir Gordon Richards – considered the finest jockey the world has ever seen. Although his career ended in 1954, his 4870 winners is still a British record, 54 years on!
Double Trigger is the only horse to have won the coveted Goodwood Cup three times.
Glorious Goodwood Festival history is sure to be made yet again this year – why not become a part of the elite Festival Meet and place your bets online.