GOODWOOD Racecourse MD Adam Waterworth can’t wait for the track’s new season to begin – and believes Saturday’s seven-race card will be a high-class opening to the 2015 campaign.
Ahead of final declarations, there were 147 entries across the card. There are two listed races, the Conqueror Stakes and Daisy Warwick Stakes.
And Waterworth revealed Goodwood Moonlight – the three-year-old owned by the Goodwood Racehorse Owners’ Group – should run in the Betfred Hat Trick Heaven Handicap later in the afternoon.
Goodwood officials will have one eye on events at Newmarket as they oversee their own opening day, for the season’s first Classic, the 2,000 Guineas, could throw up some pointers for the £1m Qatar Sussex Stakes at the festival.
Waterworth added: “The 2,000 Guineas is the first big race of the season run over a mile and as everyone knows, our big race of the year, and this year bigger than ever before, the Qatar Sussex Stakes at the Glorious meeting, is also over a mile.
“What we like to see is a horse winning the 2,000 Guineas well – and hopefully only just stay the trip so they don’t step them up as a Derby horse! – and then coming here in July, which is perfect for us.
“That’s worked the past few years, we’ve been lucky. Kingman was a Guineas horse that was an out-an-out miler last year, and of course there was Frankel. That’s the ideal for us.
“And this year there’s a horse in the 2,000 Guineas that won one of our big two-year-old races last summer – Ivawood (Richard Hannon, Richmond Stakes), so that’s exciting.”
Waterworth spoke as racecourse bosses revealed their prize money for the 2015 season is going up a whopping 77 per cent to £6.5m.
Much of the boost comes from Qatar’s megabucks backing for the five-day Glorious festival, also to be called the Qatar Goodwood Festival, which totals £2m in this first year of a ten-year deal.
But Goodwood and other sponsors are also pitching in with extra cash to create prize money sure to attract an even greater number and calibre of horses to the Downs across the season, which begins this Saturday.
The total prize money on offer across Goodwood’s 19 fixtures during 2015 will increase from £3,674,460 to £6.5m, up a staggering 77 per cent on 2014.
The Qatar partnership has led to an investment of more than £2m in prize money for a number of key races at the five-day festival – which runs from July 28 to August 1 – and a commitment to increase this year-on-year at least until 2024.
Goodwood Racecourse general manager James Crespi said: “We’re delighted with the increase in prize money and thank Qatar for the generous sponsorship of the Qatar Goodwood Festival.
“We are also pleased to be able to enhance the start of the season with an uplift in prize money to the May Festival.
“This really is an exciting time for Goodwood and we’re greatly looking forward to the season ahead.” The May Festival boost will see the prize fund for the three-day event – running from May 21 to 23 this year and including Derby and Oaks trials like the Cocked Hat Stakes and Height of Fashion Stakes – go up by £45,000.
Seamus Buckley looks forward to his 21st season at Goodwood - read it on this website on Friday (May 1)