Glorious Goodwood: A return to form

It had been a long wait in sport, and more specifically horse racing, for the crowds to return.

We were beginning to wonder when the echoes of victory, the gabbling of bookmakers and the popping of champagne corks would permeate again with resounding frequency at Britain’s great horse racing theatres. There was a taste of it for the network of primed thoroughbred horses at the Epsom Derby and Royal Ascot, but it was the Qatar Goodwood Festival – better known as Glorious Goodwood, that pertinently opened the curtains to see the masses revelling in the arena of one of horse racing’s biggest stages once again.

At the behest of the third Duke of Richmond – grandson of Charles II – a track was crafted in the unorthodox setting of his Goodwood Estate in the South Downs – as a sense of obligation to the Sussex Militia, whose annual invitation to race in the grounds of a nearby estate ceased in 1801. So well-received was the event hosted by the Duke that he sought a three-day meeting the following year. It was the fifth Duke of Richmond, severely wounded by a musket ball at Orthez in the Peninsular War in 1814, who dedicated his time in transforming Goodwood to become a legitimate and revered racecourse. The Gordon-Lennox's have long been pious facilitators of sport, embracing the auxiliary social and style elements. “What sets Goodwood apart from other sporting estates,” writes James Peill, the curator of Goodwood House in his book The English Country House, “is the generosity of sharing those passions with others – friends and strangers alike.” The current and 11th Duke of Richmond is broadly responsible for Peill’s view by founding the Goodwood Festival of Speed and Goodwood Revival.


    Freddie Anderson


    August 2021


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