Goodwood get set to welcome the 5,000 - and admit: It will be complicated

It’s so far so good for crowd-less Glorious Goodwood – as bosses prepare for a ‘complicated’ trial which will see 5,000 racegoers admitted to Saturday’s final day.

How Goodwood looked on Tuesday - but there will be rather more there on Saturday / Picture: Alan Crowhurst, Getty
How Goodwood looked on Tuesday - but there will be rather more there on Saturday / Picture: Alan Crowhurst, Getty

A team of 700 staff will be on duty as the final day of this week’s festival is used as a pilot scheme for getting sports fans back into major events.

That’s far more stewards per head than are normally needed but racecourse officials say it is important they get the crowd trial right so that racing and other major spectator sports can start to welcome fans back into their arenas.

Adam Waterworth, managing director of sport at Goodwood, said: “Planning is going well for Saturday. It will be complicated but these are exceptional times.

“We know our members will support the crowd pilot – we have sold out all 5,000 places – and we are indebted to them for helping make it the success we’re confident it will be.

“There will be ten different enclosures in place and the aim is to give everyone who attends an enjoyable, if different, afternoon’s racing while making sure people’s health and safety is the top priority.”

Waterworth said lessons learned from the day would be discussed by racing bosses and government officials and would be important towards planning the next stage of racing and other sport returning to normal attendance levels.

Saturday’s crowd will be a contrast to the first four days of Glorious, all being run behind closed doors.

Waterworth said it was strange atmosphere but he was pleased the festival could at least still be run and people could watch at home on ITV or Racing TV.

He hailed super-stayer Stradivarius as a ‘one-off’ after his fourth straight Goodwood Cup win, and said the Sussex Stakes, won by Mohaather, was a superb race that had everything you could wish for, but he predicted even those highlights could be beaten tomorrow if Battaash were to win a fourth King George Stakes.

“I love Battaash, Goodwood race-goers love Battaash and Battaash loves Goodwood. I think if he wins it’ll be the moment it really hits home there is no crowd to cheer him into the winner’s enclosure,” he said.

Today’s big race is the Nassau Stakes in which Japanese horse Deirdre bids to retain her crown, while Saturday’s Stewards’ Cup looks like being a cracker.