Welcome to the ultimate Glorious Goodwood betting guide! Glorious Goodwood, or the Qatar Goodwood Festival as it is officially known, is second only to Royal Ascot in prestige on the English flat calendar. The five-day meeting, held at arguably the most picturesque racecourse in Britain, ends on the last Saturday in July, 2020. All of the top horse racing betting sites will have markets available.
Goodwood is located five miles (8km) north of Chichester on the Sussex Downs. It is far from a standard racecourse with longer races taking in a sharp right-hand loop. The track has several undulations with the straight Stewards' Cup course uphill for the first furlong and downhill the rest of the way. The festival provides some excellent horse racing betting opportunities.
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Goodwood Cup (£500,000)
Run over two miles (3200m), the Goodwood Cup was elevated to Group 1 status in 2017. That year, John Gosden's Queen's Vase winner Stradivarius took the step up to all-age company in his stride as he denied Big Orange a hat-trick of race wins. He has since added a second Goodwood Cup, and two Ascot Gold Cups.
Should Stradivarius emerge victorious again, he would join Double Trigger (1995, 1997, 1998) as the only three-time winner of the race since it was first contested in 1812. It was originally run over three miles with the distance reduced over the years until eventually coming down to its current trip in 1991.
The Goodwood Cup is the second leg of the Stayers' Triple Crown, coming between the Ascot Gold Cup and the Lonsdale Cup at York. Stradivarius completed it last year to claim the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers' Million with 70% of the £1m bonus going to his Swedish owner Bjorn Nielsen and the remainder split between trainer Gosden, jockey Frankie Dettori, stable staff and breeders.
Sussex Stakes (£1,000,000)
Three-year-olds and older horses do battle for the first time over a mile (1600m) in the Sussex Stakes, the highlight of Glorious Goodwood. While recent renewals have been something of a disappointment, the clash of generations always makes for an interesting event.
From 2008 to 2014, three-year-olds took six out of seven renewals with the Frankel's second victory the only exception. French five-year-old Solow won in 2015 with Aidan O'Brien's three-year-old The Gurkha triumphant the following year. The last two runnings have both gone to seven-year-olds – Here Comes When in 2017 and Lightning Spear last year. This should be taken into account when considering your horse racing betting strategy.
The Sussex Stakes was first run as a six-furlong contest for two-year-olds in 1841. But it only started to capture the public's imagination when it became a mile race for three-year-olds in 1878. It was opened to four-year-olds in 1960 and older horses in 1975. Sir Henry Cecil has the record number of winners for a trainer with seven.
Nassau Stakes (£600,000)
The highlight of Ladies' Day, the Thursday of Glorious Goodwood, is the Group 1 Nassau Stakes over a mile and a quarter (2000m) for fillies and mares of three years and above. It was won last year by Charlie Appleby's Wild Illusion with three-year-olds successful in the last four renewals. She will bid for a repeat triumph this year as long as the ground isn't too quick.
Perhaps the best horse to win the race in recent years was Aidan O'Brien's 2017 victor Minding who took five Group 1s that year. Before that, Midday completed a hat-trick of victories in 2011 for Sir Henry Cecil who is the most successful trainer in the contest's history with eight wins. Sir Michael Stoute is just one behind on seven with O'Brien and John Gosden on four apiece.
Its most memorable renewal came back in 2006 when Ed Dunlop's globetrotter Ouija Board took the narrowest of wins from Alexander Goldrun. Jim Bolger's filly had won the race as a three-year-old 12 months previously and went out on her shield in one of the most thrilling head-to-head duels for many a year.
King George Stakes (£300,000)
This five-furlong (1000m) is a valuable Group 2 contest and attracts some of the best sprinters in the country. With the five furlongs almost entirely (slightly) downhill, frontrunners can be hard to reel in. David Griffiths' Take Cover won the race twice (2014, 2016) and was second on two occasions including 12 months ago at the grand old age of 11. Ian Balding's superfast mare Lochsong (1993, 1994) was another dual winner.
Just two three-year-olds – Moviesta in 2013 and Battaash in 2017 – have been victorious in the last 17 renewals although there is often a lack of sprinters from the Classic generation. Australian mare Ortensia took victory in 2012 before following up in the Group 1 Nunthorpe at York, emulating Lochsong's double from 1993.
Stewards' Cup (£250,000)
Saturday's highlight is the Stewards' Cup, one of the most valuable handicaps of the season and a real test for the punters. With at least 25 horses going to post, there is all manner of things that can go wrong.
The draw can be vital in a big sprint handicap, not least in terms of where the early pace will come from. As well as the luck of the draw, luck in running is also key and there are a plethora of hard-luck stories concerning horses who fail to find a gap at the right time.
Given the hurly-burly nature of the race, not too many three-year-olds take the chance. But when they do, they often go well. Magical Memory was the only one in the field when he won in 2015, while the only two three-year-olds in the 2016 renewal finished first and third with Andrew Balding's filly Dancing Star taking victory. Before that, you have to go back to Danetime in 1997 for the last winner from the Classic generation.
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While some bookies might go out early with the Sussex Stakes, most will price this up after Royal Ascot, 2020. The race often sees the winner and placed horses in the St James's Palace Stakes and the Queen Anne Stakes go head-to-head, and this year's is no exception.
Unsurprisingly, the two Group 1 mile races at the royal meeting provides the biggest ante-post betting clues to the Sussex Stakes. The bookies are of the opinion that the three-year-olds hold the balance of power this year with the top three in the market the top three from the St James's Palace Stakes.
The Stewards' Cup is also priced up after Royal Ascot although there are no clear 'trial' races for such a competitive handicap. This sort of market can be influenced by a prominent tipster or a yard whisper leading to a flurry of bets around the big training bases of Newmarket or Lambourn.
The Goodwood Cup market usually revolves around the Ascot Gold Cup with the King George sprint based on the King's Stand. While not among the big races of the meeting, the Golden Mile handicap run on the Friday is also priced up at the same time. Horses who ran well in the Royal Hunt Cup are usually prominent in the betting.
The Nassau Stakes is not usually priced up until the week of the race with uncertainty surrounding the protagonists. The same goes for the Gordon Stakes.
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"Diarmuid is a published horse racing journalist and creator of the #racehour twitter community which produces a weekly podcast and a home for all things horse racing throughout the flat and jumps season across the UK and Ireland."