Goodwood Called Off after Jockeys Raise Concern

Goodwood racetrack

Following concerns raised by Jockeys, and officials re-evaluating the going, Goodwood was called off on Saturday due to the complications ongoing rain was causing.

With the cancellation at Goodwood, coming only three races short of conclusion on the final day, Ed Arkell, Goodwood’s Director of Racing and Clerk of the Course, told Racing TV:

The jockeys expressed their concern after the Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes that there were some areas on the bends that they weren’t happy about. They were happy to race on the straight course for the Coral Stewards’ Cup, so we ran that, then went and inspected the bends and there is an area of false ground on the bottom bend that unfortunately we were unable to get around.

We were happy that the Coral Stewards’ Cup was fine to run because the issue was not on the straight course, it was on the round course. Unfortunately, all three of the final races come around that bend.

After a prolonged period of adverse weather, Arkell continued to say:

None of us want to end the meeting like this – it’s been a very challenging week and I would just like to thank my grounds team; Andrew, Sam, George, Jake and Phil, who have worked unbelievably hard to put this meeting on. It has been really difficult for the past two weeks and they have worked late, early and any time just to get the meeting on. It’s really sad for them that we’ve had the weather we’ve had and it has ended like this.

It was pouring with rain on Sunday and Monday. The track [grass] is long and we haven’t been able to cut it for three days. They started cutting it at half eight at night and didn’t finish until one in the morning to make sure we could get the track cut so it was safe on Tuesday.

They put the graft in then and you can imagine what the track looked like on Wednesday evening [after heavy daytime rain] and they got the track back in time for Thursday.

Today the weather has been very different from the forecast we were given first thing this morning. We were given light drizzle and heavy drizzle at times, and it’s been noticeable this week that the forecast has been changing so much – what is being forecast isn’t necessarily happening. It has been challenging and something we might have to deal with a lot more in the future.

The ongoing maintenance of racetracks is well known to be a challenge, which is especially impacted by the great British weather. An entire groundwork team is needed to maintain the ground not only ahead of race days, but all year round.

Arkell continued:

It is always difficult if you are not in control of what’s going on. If it’s drying you can put water on – you have the ability to make that decision, whether they are right or wrong and you cannot please everybody. If you know what you are dealing with it would help. We haven’t put any water on for four weeks and because it has been naturally watered, that has helped the track to cope.

We work very hard for 51 weeks of the year to ensure this particular meeting is where we want it. You want to run on decent ground that is fair to all, and not slogging through something that looks like a Jump meeting in January. It’s disappointing and upsetting but, that said, we have seen some great racing, and hopefully the horses that have run well will go on to do the same at other meetings.

Arkell concluded by talking about the Goodwood successes of the week:

Highlights [at Goodwood] have included the victory of Paddington, who was hugely impressive in the Qatar Sussex Stakes. The Qatar Nassau Stakes [won by Al Husn] is always fascinating and it was great to see Highfield Princess back to winning ways in the King George Qatar Stakes. Hopefully, she should go on and win at York. We have also seen some great two-year-old performances and it will be interesting to see how the winners of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Molecomb Stakes [Big Evs] and British EBF Alice Keppell Stakes [Flora Of Bermuda] go on. Hopefully, to bigger and better things.”

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