Goodwood Racecourse, Goodwood, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 0PX
Tel: 01243 755 030
It was the 3rd Duke of Richmond, who in 1802 first brought horseracing to Goodwood. Now more than 200 years later Goodwood Racecourse is internationally acclaimed as being one of the most beautiful racecourses in the world.
Set on top of the Sussex Downs, Goodwood racecourse is not only a breathtaking backdrop for some of the very finest flat racing, but it is also one of the world’s greatest venues for entertaining in international sport.
Goodwood’s popularity as a venue for horseracing began to grow rapidly in the last 50-60 years.
In 1953, 55,000 spectators were there for the Tuesday of the July Meeting (still at that time the only fixture staged at Goodwood: an August meeting had been held from 1946 to 1948, but had then been dropped from the programme), with no less than 21,000 on the slopes of Trundle Hill. That figure has never been surpassed, but the demand for racing at this most scenic of courses led to the introduction of three additional fixtures in 1965, two in August and one in September.
The May meeting was introduced in 1968, while in 1970 the July Meeting was extended to five days with the addition of the Saturday. In June 1985 an evening meeting was staged for the first time.
The course, itself, has undergone dramatic change. Until 1967 horses pulled up running up Trundle Hill, during which time the Parade Ring was positioned behind what is now the Charlton Stand. In 1976, however, the Parade Ring was moved to the south side of the Racecourse behind the March Stand. At the same time, the Weighing Room, which had previously been in the old Charlton building, was relocated to the north side of the Parade Ring.
The old Stand was demolished after the July Meeting of 1979 and replaced by the present March Stand which won the annual Concrete Society Award. It was opened in 1980, with the Queen unveiling the bronze horse work created by the sculptor, Dame Elizabeth Frink.
The next phase of redevelopment occurred in 1989 with the opening of the new Charlton Stand, followed in 1990 with the opening of the Sussex Stand at the July Meeting by Peter (now Sir Peter) O’Sullevan, O.B.E. The Sussex Stand won a commendation from the Royal Fine Arts Commission. In 1995, the Bentinck Conservatory was built.
Goodwood has continued to innovate, introducing new fixtures, such as its highly popular evening meetings which with their combination of great entertainment and thrilling racing, represent the perfect way to spend a summer’s night after a long day at work.
1995 saw the staging of Goodwood’s first Sunday race meeting following the legalisation of Sunday betting. The fixture took place on August 27, the Sunday of the August Bank Holiday. This brought the total number of racedays at Goodwood to a then record 19. A further new fixture in June brought that total to 20 in 1997. In May 1999, Goodwood Racecourse held the inaugural running of the Shergar Cup in May.
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