There’s no better way to spend a perfect English summer day than at the races. After Royal Ascot in June, I wasn’t sure I would be back at the races again before the fall, but I got an invitation to attend Glorious Goodwood on Saturday and I couldn’t wait to go.
Like Royal Ascot, Glorious Goodwood is a five day horse racing event in the south of England. People dress up, wear hats, and place their bets as Champagne and cocktails flow.
In an unusual turn of events, I was drinking more cocktails than Champagne on Saturday. It made sense, though, as I had been invited to the races by the people behind the Tanqueray Bar in the Gordon Enclosure.
My friend and I had our own VIP table for the afternoon. As the racing began, so did our cocktail tasting. From refreshing numbers like The Glorious, which was made with gin, apple, rhubarb, and elderflower, to decadent ones like the French 75, which featured gin, lemon juice, sugar, and Champagne, even my gin-phobic friend agreed that the drinks were tasty.
But we weren’t just there to drink. The bar also had a Spritz Up and Groom area that offered a shoe shine station for men and a make-up stand for women. Our faces were made pretty by make-up artist Gia Mills before we headed off to explore Glorious Goodwood and watch the horses compete.
We walked over to the Richmond Enclosure, where our badges granted us access to the equivalent of Ascot’s Royal Enclosure. There we wandered past enclosures-within-enclosures, restaurants, and giant strawberry stands as we made our way to the track.
We were just in time to watch a historic moment at Glorious Goodwood. After an exciting race, a horse called Midday won the Nassau Stakes, becoming the first mare to do so three times.
After the race we went to the parade ring, which was busy with equine activity as the crowds gathered for the biggest race of the day: the Stewards’ Cup. A field of 28 horses was contending for the prize. As we stood and watched them walk around the ring, we were impressed by their beauty, size, and energy.
Back out on the racecourse we walked past the grandstand, which was full of men in classic Glorious Goodwood linen suits and Panama hats, and women in summer dresses and fascinators. Eventually we found ourselves in front of the track, where we were in prime viewing position to watch the race.
It was a momentous one. At 6 furlongs, it was an all-out stampede to the finish. In the end a horse appropriately named Hoof It—the 13-2 joint favourite—won by two-and-a-half lengths. In another historic moment at Glorious Goodwood, Hoof It was the first horse to carry 10 stone to victory in the Stewards’ Cup since World War II.
After all the excitement, we needed a drink. We headed back to the Tanqueray Bar for one last gin cocktail, then traveled back from Chichester to London. The train ride was a pretty one, with the stunning Arundel Castle and the sheep-laden English countryside glowing in the late afternoon light.
But even the cutest English lambs couldn’t compete with Glorious Goodwood, and I was glad to have spent such a beautiful summer day at the races.