Goodwood bosses reflect on challenging Qatar festival

Frankie Dettori - whose two winners helped illuminate Friday and Saturday's racing at Goodwood - gets a hug from Lord March / Picture by Malcolm Wells
Frankie Dettori - whose two winners helped illuminate Friday and Saturday's racing at Goodwood - gets a hug from Lord March / Picture by Malcolm Wells

From the low point of Washout Wednesday to the highs of a Fabulous Friday and Super Saturday, Glorious Goodwood 2017 will be remembered for a wide range of reasons. But all in all, bosses were pleased with how the five days went.

In the end, the total attendance was 101,133 - just 414 down on the 2016 total. Had the midweek downpour not hit Wednesday's and, to an extent, Thursday's, they would probably have reached their target of beating the all-time high of just over 103,000.

Adam Waterworth, the Goodwood Estate Sports Managing Director, said: "I think it has been the hardest meeting that I have ever been involved with. I have never had a day as bad as Wednesday, ever. And, obviously, two inches of rain falling in 12 hours then caused its problems for the next day so Thursday was also really hard.

"The groundstaff did a tremendous job keeping us on, and going, on Wednesday, and then Sarah Bullen and the operations team were unbelievable in keeping the show on the road on Thursday. The concerns on the Thursday moved more to the customer side, getting people in, dealing with the car parks, and a little less then about the horses. The ops team did a pretty spectacular job to keep us going on Thursday.

"Then, on Friday and Saturday, the sun has come out, we had a little blip when Storm Katy came through, but the meeting has finished on a real high. Friday and today are what Goodwood is all about - great racing, great weather, and a fantastic atmosphere.

"We had some pretty determined racegoers on Wednesday, but the week has finished on an absolute high and at least no one drowned on Wednesday! It is a fabulous testament to our racegoers their determination to come to racing at Goodwood."

Waterworth paid tribute to the retiring Clerk of the Course Seamus Buckley, thankful that Buckley was still in situ to deal with this year's challenges.

"The biggest tribute I can give Seamus Buckley is Wednesday and Thursday. When I walked the course on Thursday morning it was an absolute mess, and I was thinking we'd be in trouble with it, but Seamus would hear none of it. He and his team got to work on it, and sure enough, proved that I was stupid to worry.

"That is when you appreciate how good he is, on a day such as Wednesday. And also, thank god, that he decided this would be his final year and not last year, as there is no one I would rather have had on my side!

"We came into the meeting with the ground in such good nick, Seamus had the track in such good condition and the grass covering was unbelievable, that is reason why we got away with it. Of course, he has been doing the job long enough to know how much ground to keep up his sleeve and when to play that card.

"But from an unbelievably difficult hand, he played it beautifully - it is a great testament to him and the team.

"I have said to the whole Goodwood team that if they could cope with this year, they could deal with anything!"

See a picture special from festival week and all the Glorious-week reaction in the Chichester Observer - out on Thursday