The Goodwood Cup is one of the top staying races of the flat racing season. It is the second leg of the Stayers Triple Crown between the Ascot Gold Cup and the Doncaster Cup. Stradivarius became the first horse in history to win the race four times between 2017 and 2020. Other notable winners include Ardross (1981), Double Trigger (1995, 1997, 1998), Persian Punch (2001, 2003) and Yeats (2006, 2008).
The Goodwood Cup takes place at the Glorious Goodwood Festival in late July or early August. It is over two miles, half a mile shorter than the Ascot Gold Cup. Horses that failed to stay at Ascot have a chance to make amends here, although the course’s undulations ensure that this is still a proper stamina test, particularly in soft ground.
Famous Goodwood Cup Winners & History
The Goodwood Cup was first run in 1808 with the original silver cup awarded to the owners of Bucephalus after he had won it three times. A new gold cup was the prize for the 1812 edition which was over three miles. The distance has gradually been shortened over the years, finally to two miles in 1991.
The Goodwood Cup was actually downgraded from Group 2 to Group 3 in 1985, re-instated at Group 2 level in 1995 and finally classified as a Group 1 in 2017. The prize money was also increased substantially to make it a more appealing target for the best stayers in Europe.
Horses blessed with the combination of bottomless stamina and a turn of foot are rare so when one comes along it tends to dominate the staying division. That was certainly the case with record four times winner Stradivarius. John Gosden’s popular chestnut won the Ascot Gold Cup three times and scooped a £1 million bonus for his owner on two occasions for a clean sweep of the top four staying races.
There have been numerous other multiple winners over the years including Le Moss (1979, 1980), Further Flight (1991, 1992), Double Trigger (1995, 1997, 1998) and Persian Punch (2001, 2003). Le Moss was trained by Sir Henry Cecil and often battled with another mighty stayer in Ardross, the winner here in 1981.
Further Flight was a popular grey trained by Barry Hills who created his own bit of history by winning the Jockey Club Cup on a record five occasions. Double Trigger also had a large public following, a flashy chestnut with a big white face. He had a different jockey for each of his Goodwood Cup victories; Jason Weaver, Michael Roberts and Darryll Holland.
Key Goodwood Cup Trials
The most informative races for finding the Goodwood Cup winner are the Ascot Gold Cup and the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket. Five of the last twelve winners ran at Ascot last time out, including Stradivarius who completed the Ascot/Goodwood Cup double in 2018, 2019 and 2020.
Colour Vision (2012) and Trip To Paris (2015) both finished third here after winning at Ascot. The Princess of Wales’s Stakes is over a mile and a half but it provided the perfect stepping-stone for the Goodwood Cup for Cavalryman (2014) and dual winner Big Orange (2015, 2016).
Goodwood Cup Betting Trends
Favourites have a good record in the Goodwood Cup, winning 12 of the last twenty renewals, including five out of six between 2016 and 2021. Stradivarius was 6-1 second favourite when winning the race for the first time in 2017 and started odds-on for each of his subsequent three victories. Trueshan started a well-backed 6-5 favourite in 2021 to continue the trend for market leaders.
Goodwood Cup Stats
Horses aged five and upwards have won 15 of the last twenty Goodwood Cups. Stradivarius (2017) was the first three-year-old to win the race since Lucky Moon (1990). The oldest winner was David Elsworth’s admirable stayer Persian Punch who won as a ten-year-old in 2003. All but one of the last twelve winners had at least one previous victory in a Group 1 to 3 race. An official rating of 113 or higher is usually required to win here. Stradivarius was officially rated only 100 when winning for the first time but was up to 125 by the time of his fourth and final victory.
Top Trainers and Jockeys
The leading trainer in the history of the Goodwood Cup is John Scott who was successful seven times between 1836 and 1860. John Gosden has five victories with the four wins of Stradivarius preceded by Sonus in 1993. Mark Johnston has four victories with Darasim (2004) adding to the three wins for Double Trigger. Aidan O’Brien has yet to add to the two victories of Yeats (2006 and 2008) despite running several high class horses in this event.
Frankie Dettori’s two victories aboard Stradivarius (2019, 2020) brought him level with five other riders on the five winner mark. He joined Jem Robinson, George Fordham, Steve Donoghue, Lester Piggott and Pat Eddery. Hollie Doyle became the first female jockey to win the race aboard Alan King’s Trueshan in 2021.
Betting on the Goodwood Cup
Ante-post betting on the Goodwood Cup opens immediately after the Ascot Gold Cup. Since being upgraded to Group 1 level, this is an automatic target for the Ascot winner. The going can vary between Ascot and Goodwood and the race is over half a mile shorter so it is no certainty that the form will be confirmed.
The Lonsdale Cup at York is the next objective for Goodwood Cup winners. Opinion Poll (2011) and Stradivarius (2018, 2019) were successful in that race. Illustrious Blue (2010), Saddler’s Rock (2012), Cavalryman (2014) and Big Orange (2015) were all beaten.
The Goodwood Cup does not quite have the status of the Ascot Gold Cup but it provides a thrilling staying race with the Ascot winner often the headline act. Stayers like Double Trigger, Persian Punch and Stradivarius attracted a huge public following and it certainly remains one of the highlights of the Glorious Goodwood Festival.