Qatar Goodwood Festival is set to go global with raft of international runners

Goodwood bosses feel their long-term efforts to attract overseas runners to their big festival week are starting to pay off.

Monday, 22nd July 2019, 3:01 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd July 2019, 3:04 pm
Goodwood is set to welcome a raft of international runners. Picture: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Entries for some of the major races at the five-day Qatar Goodwood Festival, which begins on Tuesday, July 30, include horses from Japan, the USA, Singapore and a number of European countries.

While there are no guarantees at this stage, officials are confident a number will run.

And coupled with the fact some of the week’s highlights will now be shown live on TV in Japan, the States and Australia, they believe Goodwood is finally going global.

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It’s something the racecourse has targeted since the Qatari sponsorship of the meeting began in 2015 and sent prize money soaring.

Racecourse manager Alex Eade is delighted a healthy number of oversea entries.

He said: ‘Fingers crossed, if it all comes off I think we will finally deliver on what we’ve talked about for many years.

‘It could be the most international Glorious Goodwood there’s ever been.

‘It’s been about building relationships.

‘You have to spend time getting to know people and flying around to see them. It’s not easy.

‘The Japanese runner, Deirdre, entered in the Nassau Stakes is really exciting and racing is going to be shown live in Japan, America and Australia, all for the first time.

‘That’s what we have been aiming for. It’s pleasing to see.

‘There are quite a few from Europe too, including France and Germany. We feel we’re on the radar now.

‘The Nassau will be a brilliant race, possibly the second best of the week after the Goodwood Cup.

‘Hopefully Deidre runs well and last year’s winner Wild Illusion is in at this stage.

‘There are good numbers there, pretty much all those we would want and the fillies make up a strong division this year.’

A number of runners could come from Sweden after Goodwood bosses set up a new partnership offering incentives.

Clerk of the course Ed Arkell added: ‘I was out in Sweden a fortnight ago for the qualifying races they ran to get free travel and entry.

‘There is plenty of interest and hopefully we’ll convert that to three or four runners.’