Summertime is a busy time of year when it comes to Ladies Days, with all of the major festivals laying on days crammed with both high-quality racing and a range of additional entertainment. When it comes to Ladies’ Days in the sun, few tracks do it better than the Sussex venue of Goodwood.
Featuring as part of the Glorious Goodwood Festival, which is regularly likened to a garden party with racing tacked on, this late July/early August fixture is one of the first dates pencilled into the diaries of racing fans up and down the land.
Ladies Day at Goodwood falls slap bang in the middle of the prestigious Glorious Goodwood meeting, falling on a Thursday afternoon in late July/Early August each year. The first of the day’s seven races commences at 1:50pm, with the last getting underway at 5:20pm.
In addition to the racing action, those making the trip to Sussex can expect a whole host of entertainment in the stands, including live music and a “Best Dressed” competition, with truly spectacular prizes on offer – the 2022 winner received a five-day holiday in South Africa!
Gates open at 11am for those who wish to arrive early and take in the beautiful surroundings of this most picturesque of tracks which gives customers plenty of time to grab a drink or a bite to eat before the action begins.
There are a wide variety of ticketing options available for Ladies Day at Glorious Goodwood, with a range of prices which should suit most budgets. When looking at the three main enclosures, standard adult prices are as follows:
From £21 – The track’s most relaxed enclosure is hugely popular with families, and provides excellent views of the action thanks to its location close to the running rail. Featuring a fun-packed children’s playground and extensive lawned areas, racegoers are invited to bring a picnic along to this area of the course should they wish.
Patrons are not permitted to bring their own alcohol but can add a £10 food voucher and a glass of wine for a total ticket cost of £36. Alternatively, the Lennox Enclosure Prosecco Celebration Package includes two admission tickets, two £10 food vouchers, and a chilled bottle of Prosecco for £102.
From £46 – This area places more emphasis on stylish dress, but still aims for a relaxed summer vibe. Crammed with bars and eateries, the Gordon Enclosure grants access to a covered seating area and provides excellent views of the racing, parade ring, and winners’ enclosure.
Priced at £66, the Gordon Enclosure Raceday Package comes with a £15 food voucher and a glass of wine, or for a great value £96.50 the Gordon Enclosure Sparkling Wine Package includes admission for two, two £15 Food vouchers, and a bottle of sparkling wine.
From £84 – The track’s premier enclosure affords racegoers outstanding views of the racing from the March Grandstand. Formal attire is required in this area which includes a range of top-end catering options, including swish Champagne bars, fine dining restaurants, and plenty more besides.
From £391.67 – In addition to the standard entry options, a number of hospitality and private box packages are available, containing private dining, exclusive bars, guest tipsters, balcony views and more. See the ticketing section of the track’s official website for the full list of the available options.
The prices quoted above all refer to a single adult when booked and paid for well in advance. Racegoers who leave it closer to the time can expect around a 15% increase in the price each of the enclosures.
Glorious Goodwood as a whole is littered with a selection of the most prestigious racing events of the year, and Ladies Day is certainly no different. Of the seven contests on offer, three are rated as Group Class contests – signifying the very highest level of the sport.
The Richmond Stakes attracts a field of the most talented youngsters in the game, granting the opportunity to catch an early glimpse of a future star, whilst the Gordon Stakes regularly features runners to have previously lined up in the Epsom Derby. The pick of the bunch though is the Group 1 Nassau Stakes which, in keeping with the theme of the day, is restricted to female performers. Expect a real buzz in the betting ring ahead of the day’s signature event.
Prior to the start of the official action, the day begins with one of the most unique races of the season, as a field of amateur female jockeys lines up in the charity race of the Magnolia Cup – Vogue Williams being amongst those to have donned her jodhpurs in recent years.
First opened in 1801 by the Duke of Richmond, Charles Lennox, Goodwood Racecourse was initially used solely for the staging of military racing events. Fast forward over 200 years, and the course is still owned by the family of the Duke and features as part of an extensive 12,000-acre estate. Set amid the Sussex Downs, the track provides one of the most scenic backdrops in the whole of British racing.
Opening to the public in 1802, Goodwood soon rose to prominence, seeing an increase in the quality of the racing and attendance. Counted amongst those early attendees was King Edward VII, with the monarch being the first to refer to the track as “a garden party with racing tacked on” – a phrase which continues to sum up events nicely to this day.
Following a further explosion in popularity following WWII, the owners sought to reward their loyal racegoers with a significant investment in facilities. Designed by renowned architect Sir Philip Dowson, The March Stand was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1979, followed by the Charlton Stand in 1989 and Sussex Stand in 1990 – the latter being so pleasing to the eye that it earned a commendation from the Royal Fine Arts Commission. With further upgrades including an amphitheatre-style parade ring, viewing pavilions, and an array of stylish restaurants, the facilities on offer are now just as impressive as the surrounding countryside.
Whichever of the enclosures you choose to attend you are sure to enjoy an outstanding summertime race day. But for those who like to know a little more about what lies in store, we conclude with a few of the highlights to be found in each area of the track.
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