Anticipation builds for May Festival after record-breaking start to the season

Horse Racing | Press Article 17/04/24

Goodwood Racecourse is greatly anticipating the May Festival fixture on 19-21 May, after starting the season in record-breaking fashion with Opening Saturday and selling out general admission tickets to the Three Friday Nights fixture on 17 June. A total of 10,013 guests enjoyed the first meeting of the year, making up the largest crowd ever to attend the fixture. 

The expectation of another successful fixture is high and with four Listed races across the three-day May Festival, regarded as a precursor to the Qatar Goodwood Festival in July, the racing is sure to produce some stars of the future. Heralding the start of summer, the meeting will host key trials races, such as the 1m2f Height of Fashion Stakes for fillies and The Tapster Stakes, run over the Derby distance of 1m4f.

Richard Hughes, the champion jockey-turned-trainer who saddled his first winner at the track last month, is aiming more of his string at Goodwood. He said; “I’m looking forward to the Festival and I’m trying to target one or two two-year-olds for the meeting. Everyone knows Goodwood is one of my favourite tracks. My first runner was a winner – I had kind of planned it but didn’t think it would turn out that he’d win – but that just shows how lucky the place is for me.”

In a nod to Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday, the opening race on 19 May has been named The Happy Birthday Your Majesty EBF Novice Stakes. The Listed Cocked Hat Stakes, to be run on 20 May, was last year won by Storm The Stars who then went on to finish third in the Derby to Golden Horn. 

Notes for editors

Following the May Festival on 19-21 May, Goodwood’s Three Friday Nights evening meetings will take place in June. The final night on 17 June – when Basement Jaxx will perform a DJ set after racing – has now sold out for general admission. There is still limited availability for the remaining nights; Sister Bliss Faithless DJ set on 3 June and MistaJam on 10 June.

On Sunday 5 June, the Racecourse will host a Family Raceday in association with the NSPCC, featuring pony racing and hands on demonstrations and tours.