Date of Review: 11th June 2023
RCA Reviewer: Mr Shrewdy.
Address: Selhurstpark Road, Chichester, PO18 OPS.
Email: Website Enquiry Form: https://www.goodwood.com/horseracing/racecourse/contact-us/
Phone: 01243 755022
Hotel Accommodation: https://www.booking.com/landmark/gb/goodwood-racecourse1.en-gb.html
Track Layout: (Image: courtesy of & acknowledged to At The Races)
Goodwood is an unusual, tricky, right-handed course with a number of sharp turns, downhill gradients, and undulations. It has two bends. Races up to 10-furlongs use the lower bend, and the top bend is used for races longer than this. There is a 6-furlong straight that is uphill to begin with, then downhill all the way to the winning post. The course has two main right-handed turns, the first one being around a mile from the finishing post and the second around half a mile out.
There is a tight right-handed loop at the far end of the straight on which there are starts for various longer-distance races. These include the 1 mile, 2 furlong "Craven Course," the 1 mile, 4 furlong "Gratwicke Course," and the 1 mile, 6 furlong "Bentinck Course." The start for the two-mile five- furlong "Cup Course" is close to the winning post, where the horses travel outwards on the straight, around the loop, and back again. From all reports, jockeys find that the ground runs away from them on the turns, with the potential to cause all sorts of problems for horses that cannot handle them.
On the sprint course, the fastest way home is in a straight line, down the centre of the track. The course has a chute for 1-and-a-half-mile race starts. Goodwood favours speedy, handy types of horses who like to race prominently.
Goodwood hosts 19 racedays a year (all flat) from May to October, including the famous 5-day Qatar Goodwood Festival, also known as “Glorious Goodwood’ which is held in early August. It hosts three of the UK’s 36 Group 1 flat races: the Sussex Stakes, the Goodwood Cup, and the Nassau Stakes. The total prize money on offer at Goodwood in 2023 will be a cool £8 million.
Horse racing at Goodwood can be traced back to 1802. The then-Third Duke of Richmond, Charles Lennox, built a racetrack on the Goodwood Estate known as “The Harroway.” The Goodwood Stakes came shortly after, in 1823.
Goodwood Racecourse made racing history in the late 18th century when it became the location for the first flag start on a British racecourse. This was on the direct order of Lord Bentinck, after a somewhat notable and chaotic start to a race that was caused by an elderly deaf starter with a speech impediment. There is also evidence that suggests Goodwood was the first racecourse where the horses had a number that matched that on the display board listing the runners.
Further to this, Goodwood was one of the first racecourses where the horses would parade in front of the spectators before the start and also be saddled and unsaddled in a specific area to suit this purpose. Her Majesty The Queen unveiled a statue of a bronze horse at the course in 1980 to commemorate the opening of the March Stand, which was designed by Sir Philip Dowson.
The Racecourse Advisor Guide to Goodwood Racecourse:
By Road: The racecourse is located on the outskirts of Chichester, approximately 60 miles from London and 30 miles from Brighton and Southampton.
From London: Take the A3 (Junction 10 on the M25) south towards Guildford. Follow this for approximately 3 miles past Guildford. Then take the A283 to Petworth, then the A285 to Chichester for about 6 miles.
From the West: Take the A27 to Chichester. Stay on the A27 bypass/ring road. After the only set of traffic lights, take the second exit at the next roundabout, signposted “Goodwood.” At the next roundabout, take the second exit. Go past the Goodwood Motor Circuit & Aerodrome entrance, straight over at the roundabout, and follow the road to the racecourse. On some race days, there can be diversions to the course through Goodwood Estate. Follow the signs to the track.
From the East: Take the A27 to Chichester, coming off at the A285 Junction. Continue north and take the second left, signposted New Road. Follow New Road to the next roundabout and take the third exit onto Kennel Hill; this will take you up to the racecourse. Be aware that the roads are narrow and winding. On arrival and exit, a one-way system is in operation, so access is not ideal.
By Rail: The nearest station to Goodwood Racecourse is Chichester. Regular services run from London Victoria to Chichester. The journey time is approximately 90 minutes. A taxi ride is then required to the course, which takes around 15 minutes. Alternatively, the number 900 bus service operates from Chichester Train Station (North Car Park) to the racecourse each race day. Departing at 15 and 45 minutes past the hour, from 10.15am until 1.15pm. Be aware that this bus service is chargeable during the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
By Air: Goodwood has an aerodrome that is suitable for rotary and fixed-wing aircraft. Call 01243 755022 or email RacecourseReception@goodwood.com. For further details. Rating: 6/10
Parking: Free parking is available in Car Park 9. There is a £12 charge to park in Car Park 8 (£5 if booked in advance). It is then a 400m walk to the East Entrance. Follow the road signs on the day for directions. Vehicles can be left overnight and collected by 11 a.m. the following day if required. The queues into the free car parks were long and up a narrow pathway.
We didn’t fancy our chances of exiting quickly after the racing had finished, so we paid £12.00 to park on a large grassy, sloping field, which would be very interesting in the wet. As Goodwood is a Jockey Club owned course, it has the annoying policy of being a cashless venue. Trying to pay the parking fee in the middle of a very large field with a wireless scanner terminal was a bit of fun. We finally managed it after around four attempts while waving the terminal around in the air for a while.
Also, the car park attendant on duty at the main entrance to the racecourse was less than helpful and a little gruff, to say the least, when asked a simple question regarding the location of the paid car park. Not a great start to the day. Rating: 6/10.
Pricing: On the day of our visit, it was a “Family Race Day” meeting. There were a myriad of pricing options. Such as the Gordon Enclosure at £26.00 each. This gives you access to the parade ring and winners’ enclosure, as well as a good number of food and drink options. However, the viewing was only inside the final furlong and not on the winning post. For us, this is unacceptable. For £26.00, you should be able to view the racing from the winning post, if only when standing at the rails. It does create an “us and them” type of arrangement.
“Young persons” aged between 13 and 17, along with children, get in for free but do require a ticket. A group discount of 10% is available for the purchase of 5-9 tickets, and a decent sized 20% discount is available on bookings for 10-30 tickets if booked in advance. So definitely worth being aware of. This ticket also enables a complimentary bus to and from Chichester railway station – again, worth knowing about.
If you do wish to watch the races at the winning post, then it’s a £36.00 ticket into the Richmond Enclosure (a jacket & tie for gentlemen are required). This is the premier enclosure, which allows viewing from the March grandstand, and access to another raft of bars and restaurants.
The same concessions and discounts are applicable, as is the complimentary bus to and from Chichester railway station. There is also the Lennox Enclosure, which is popular with families and costs only £12 per person. This has track side and rails viewing, a kids’ play area, and picnics are welcome. Again, the same concessions and discounts apply. Once again, the complimentary bus to and from the railway station is also included. So, in our opinion, for a racecourse of this quality, that is pretty good VFM (value for money)!
There are also a plethora of upgrade packages, should that be your fancy. They range from numerous Richmond Enclosure options, which include food, drink, or both, from £50 to £83. Gordon Enclosure packages for £67 per person or a Lennox Enclosure upgrade(s) ranging from £20 to £67 each.
You then move up to the full hospitality packages, such as the Long View, where you get a buffet-style meal and a dedicated table for the day. The Charlton Hunt, which offers “fine dining” for £231 each. The Final Furlong option, for a mere £369, comes with a private balcony, just to mention a few. Overall, there is a very good selection of options to suit all tastes and all pockets.
The Goodwood race card is a fairly regal document, as you would expect from a racecourse of this prestige. The first thing you notice is that there is no price on the front, and it is of much thicker card and quality paper than most others. It contains a “What’s going on Today” section, a detailed page showing the course layout and positioning of the stalls, a trainer and jockey index, and a double-page map of the facilities, which is always good to see, but, in this case, it is a bit arty-farty (see image at bottom of page), but it did have everything marked out.
At £4.00 it represents great value. It is 58 pages, and 19 of those were advertisements, a high percentage at just over 32%. Hats off to the course for also including the runners and riders for the two pony races that preceded the racing proper. A really nice touch, and the young jockeys aged 16 and under, we are sure, would be thrilled to be included in the card. Overall, top value and a good read. Rating: 9/10.
Catering: As we both enjoy doing "racecourse reviews" and not restaurant reviews, or pretending to be food critics, our aim is to just give you an overall idea of what culinary options are available at the track on race days.
There is no shortage of food and catering options at this racecourse. However, it was disappointing to find that in the Sussex Stand, the main catering facility called The Canteen is a McDonald's style self-ordering, tap-the-screen, click & collect system for both food and drink, which makes the place more than a little soulless in our opinion.
Some of the food & drink options - Goodwood
On offer were Fish Goujons & Chips at £14.00 and Southern Fried Chicken Strips and Chips at £12.50. Various pizzas ranging from £10 to £14 a pop and a portion of chips for £4.00. Cheap it isn’t. We also have to say that the cleaning staff need to up their game, as you couldn’t help but notice discarded food on the floor, under the tables, in the seating area. Not good.
Plenty of other food offerings, such as a variety of sandwiches such as Cheddar cheese & Ploughman’s, prawn mayonnaise, and roast chicken salad, are available for £6.50 each. On top of this, you have a number of street food vans situated outside, offering exotic fayre, such as piggy fries topped with pulled pork, smoked bacon, spring onions, and baconaise. Mexican fries topped with nacho cheese sauce, crushed tortilla chips, jalapenos, and salsa. Chilli fries, topped with chilli beef, melted cheese, diced onions, and jalapenos, all for £12.00 a serving.
If those don’t float your boat, then how about a bacon roll for £7.00. Add an egg for £8.00. Pork sausage in a soft roll, at £8.00 each. An organic 6oz beef burger sets you back £9.50, and if you add a slice of cheese, it’s a mere £10.00. Fancy a cup of tea or coffee with organic milk? Then that will cost you £2.50 each.
Now onto the drinks: Guinness costs £7.40 a pint (see below). Moretti £7.50. Inch’s Cider, £7.40. Flying Elephant Lager costs £6.90 a pint. A 330ml bottle of Heineken costs £5.50. A 330ml can of Coca Cola is £3.50 which, in our opinion, is taking the Michael. Simply outrageous.
A can of Diet Coke is £3.00, as is a can of Sprite. A small 125ml glass of Sauvignon Blanc wine hits you for £8.50. Again, in our opinion, this is unacceptable. All of the drinks are purchased on the self-order, click & collect system, which means on busy days you queue twice. Once to place your order, and then again to pick it up.
The food and drink options are plentiful, but due to the dirty floor and the sky-high prices, we have deducted one point from our rating. Rating: 7/10.
Guinness Standard: Draught Guinness is available at £7.40 per pint – ouch! That is the most expensive we have come across at any racecourse, with the exception of the Cheltenham Festival, and it is served in flimsy plastic cups. That said, it was a decent pint. Rating: 7/10.
Viewing: Apart from having to be in the Richmond Enclosure to see the horses at the winning post, the viewing here is very good from the stands. The notable exception is the start for the 6-furlong races. This is completely hidden, and you have to wait until around the 5-furlong mark before the horse come over a hill and into view.
Apart from that, there were no complaints regarding the viewing whatsoever. The views from the stands onto the South Downs and open countryside are nothing short of spectacular. The views from the lower section of the Gordon Enclosure are good, with the horses in view for the vast majority of the time during the races.
The Viewing Experience - Goodwood. Top Left: The Sussex Stand. Top Right: The March Grandstand. Bottom Left: The Lennox Enclosure. Bottom Right: The views over the South Downs.
However, we recommended viewing from the elevated roof canopy in the upper section of the Sussex Stand. While, further away from the finishing post, you get a fantastic view of the horses during the whole of the race. There are two large TV screens: One situated on the winning post and the other around a furlong out, which we like and definitely improves the viewing experience.
only gripe we have, is once again, the amount of debris on the floor of this area. Plastic jugs and pint pots were littered everywhere, which really does spoil things. Once again, a little more emphasis on cleaning and housekeeping would make a big difference. We have deducted a point from the rating due to the fact, that unless you are paying top dollar, you cannot view the finish of the races from the finishing post. Rating: 8/10.
Parade Ring / Winners Enclosure: This is located directly behind the stands, and it is superb. Very large in size and beautifully manicured with neatly trimmed, low hedges around the perimeter and at each viewing barrier.
Due to its size, there are plenty of paved tiered viewing options. Seating is also available at the back of the ring. Access around the full perimeter of the parade ring is not possible unless you have a ticket for the Richmond Enclosure. However, due to its size, this really isn’t a problem in any way.
The Parade Ring (top) & Winners Enclosure (bottom) - Goodwood
The winner’s enclosure is located immediately off the parade ring; again, it is large in size and next to the weighing room. All of the horses and action can be seen up close and personal. The pre parade ring and saddling enclosure are located on the right-hand side, and as far as we understand, access is not available to this area. The right-hand side of the ring and the weighing room have canopied viewing areas, which really does make the whole setup look absolutely brilliant.
On the day of our visit, the third race was a “Selling Stakes” race. This is where, immediately after the finish, the winner of the race is offered for sale and put up for public auction. The winner of the race was a horse named Call Glory (6/4 favourite), trained by Jack Channon.
The auction was conducted in the winner’s enclosure, and it was a superb spectacle and a great piece of theatre. The final selling price was £40,000, after a magnificent piece of work by the auctioneer. The full auction can be viewed on our website here:
If you ever get the opportunity to watch and witness one of the auctions, we thoroughly recommend that you take it. Rating: 9/10.
Bookmakers / Betting Facilities: Bookmakers aplenty! In total, on all pitches, we counted circa 75 pitches, which is more than enough for anybody. The off-course betting is William Hill, with concessions conveniently located in all of the stands. This, together with the ubiquitous Tote outlets, means there is absolutely no problem getting a bet on or picking up. Rating: 10/10.
Friendliness of Course Staff: The majority of the course staff were friendly and helpful, with the exception of the car park attendant and a lady down near the entrance who was, well, let’s just say, somewhat officious. Rating: 8/10.
Goodwood Starting Stalls Tours: Goodwood is one of the few courses that offers free tours to racegoers that go down to the starting stalls to watch the horses be loaded and dispatched by the starter. These are highly recommended.
The tours are conducted by Ron Atkins, who in a previous life was a successful National Hunt jockey. Richard was tremendous, very friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. And as always, impeccably attired. We also had a quick chat with the starter, but for obvious reasons, he was a little bit busy.
These tours deliver a great insight and understanding of what actually goes on behind the scenes during racedays. The tours start from a minibus that is located in the car park on the outside of the course 20 minutes before the race. Get there early, as they were extremely popular on the day we visited.
Pros & Cons: Goodwood is a beautifully presented racecourse and is vast in size and layout. You can’t help but be impressed as you enter, with the huge stands and surrounding gardens. We were greeted by a large outside bar area, and a four-piece ensemble knocking out a few jazzy tunes from the bandstand – very classy.
The setting of the racecourse on the South Downs and the views that come with it are nothing short of spectacular. The viewing of the races is very good, with the exception of the 6-furlong races and the segregation on the winning post mentioned previously.
The parade ring and winners’ enclosure are one of the best we have seen on any racecourse during our travels and are a credit to the course and the staff who maintain them. Absolutely first-class.
The bookmakers and betting facilities are excellent and are spread widely over the course and its enclosures. The day of our visit was a Family Fun Day with a free fairground with plenty of picnic tables and areas, along with plenty of catering outlets and rails bookmakers, adding to the atmosphere. To say the kids were absolutely loving it would be a massive understatement.
The free tours to the starting stalls are a great initiative by the owners and management of the course, and they are to be commended for taking the time, expense, and resource required to run them.
The cons are that access to the course on a busy race day is problematic due to the one-way system and location of the free car parks. The segregated viewing at the winning post. We keep banging on about it, but we really do feel that this is unfair. We have no problem with racegoers not being able to get up into the stands, but viewing track side on foot at the rails should be standard, in our opinion.
We also, have to say that the price of the food and drink is high. Very high. £3.50 for a can of Coke and £8.50 for a small 125ml glass of wine is excessive in anyone’s book and the highest we have seen at any track to date. The fact you have to self-order and pick up McDonald’s style doesn’t help either. The only other issue is the lack of cleanliness in the catering and viewing areas in the Sussex Stand. It could easily be improved with a little effort.
That said, Goodwood is without doubt a genuine Premier League racecourse. Set in beautiful countryside with top-class facilities in all areas. If you like your racing, then a visit to Goodwood just to see the parade ring and winners’ enclosure is worth it. Overall, a good day’s racing was enjoyed and is recommended. Rating: 8/10
VIP Watch: No VIPs were spotted during the visit.
Wi-Fi / Internet Connection: Free Wi-Fi is available once you have registered and logged in with the Jockey Club portal. This requires you to enter all of the usual questions, such as name, age, gender, email address, inside leg measurement, etc. However, once you have registered, Wi-Fi is immediately available at all Jockey Club racecourses. The connection was fast and reliable. No issues whatsoever.
Overall Racecourse Advisor Rating: 7.7/10
The full day's racing results can be found here: https://www.sportinglife.com/racing/meeting/2023-06-11/goodwood/97858
Facilities & location layout of Goodwood Racecourse
Aerial View of York Racecourse
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