Without question the British love their horse racing with the annual calendar offering over 1,400 fixtures and 10,216 races being run in 2022.
From Perth in Scotland to Newton Abbot in Devon, across to Ffos Las in Wales and to Great Yarmouth on the east coast, 59 racecourses provide a mix of flat, jump and all weather track racing throughout the year. The Arena Racing Company (16) and The Jockey Club (15) being the largest course owners.
According to the Racing Post, just under 5 million people attended race meetings in 2022, making it the third most popular spectator sport behind football and rugby union. Racecourses reported excellent business over Christmas, with in some cases fans returning to festive fixtures for the first time in three years.
With race days being lost to mourning the passing of The Queen, the economic challenges faced by many and fixture abandonments, the 2022 attendance numbers are described as sobering reading. Attendance numbers are in decline. British racing has lost more than a million annual visits since 2015, when the total attendance was calculated at 6.13 million.
However, many courses are seeking new ways to attract racegoers including having high profile concerts and DJs added to the end of the racing programme. More recently The Jockey Club announced that formal dress codes will no longer be in place at many of its 15 racecourses as part of a drive to make horseracing more “accessible and inclusive”. Instead of restricting racegoers from watching the action in certain enclosures based on what they are wearing, it is encouraging visitors to “dress as you feel most comfortable and confident”.
Often referred to as the sport of kings as well as the people’s sport, horse racing is synonymous with fashion. Fashionistas are now part of the TV broadcast teams on big race days highlighting new fashion lines as well as promoting trends.
On many courses and for various race meetings dress codes are still applied to those attending. Racecourses use their social media channels to showcase that haute couture and racing go hand in hand. It’s all part of the British racing tradition as well as the experience for men, women and families alike.
It's a still a choice though in how you want to dress for the day. However, if you do want style, the ability to dress for the occasion, to be part of tradition and an experience that captures the essence of British racing in the summer then look no further than Goodwood (preview video below).
Situated in Sussex on a 12,000-acre estate it boasts 19 days of flat racing each year, including the famous Qatar Goodwood Festival. Often described as a charming summer garden party this race meeting has become a much loved fixture in the British social season. Affectionately known as ‘Glorious Goodwood’, it presents world class sport, unrivalled style, scintillating racing and hospitality to savour.
Without question the Qatar Goodwood Festival is one of the undisputed highlights of the British Flat racing season. The world famous five-day festival delivers an exquisite week of entertainment and hospitality where some of the greatest stars in horse racing are crowned.
The meeting runs from Tuesday 1st to Saturday 5th August, with Ladies Day on Thursday 3rd with the £600,000 Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes the highlight of the racing card that day.
There are numerous hospitality experiences available to choose from to suit the occasion, whether you are with family, friends or entertaining guests. You can secure your place at the Qatar Goodwood Festival by clicking here. Three Fridays Nights in June can be booked via this link.