The Qatar Goodwood Festival
The Stewards’ Cup will return to the programme at Goodwood next summer after the course announced a 10-year sponsorship deal with Qatar on Monday for the five-day Glorious Goodwood meeting. Rebranded as the Qatar Goodwood Festival, the track’s showpiece event will receive significant increases to the prize funds for seven Group One and Group Two events, while Qatar will guarantee a prize fund of at least £500,000 for any Group Two event which achieves an upgrade to Group One status. In all, £4.5m in prize money will be on offer at next season’s Glorious Goodwood, with no race worth less than £20,000.
The Qatar Stewards’ Cup, controversially renamed the 32Red Cup last year under a one-year deal with a casino games and betting firm, in a deal worth £250,000. Lord March, Goodwood’s owner, said that last year’s agreement to remove the name of one of the sport’s most popular and historic races from its programme maybe wasn’t the best decision. “The renaming of the Stewards’ Cup was a decision we had to make at the last minute and we were very happy with it at the time. I listened to what everyone said and I think they had a fair point. I’m very keen on branding and how things are presented and on reflection I think that maybe it wasn’t our best decision. We shouldn’t have got ourselves into that position really. Those last-minute decisions are often not necessarily the best, but we’re in a different place now.”
The value and length of the deal with Qatar should help to make Glorious Goodwood in late July a more significant competitor for both Ascot, which stages the Royal meeting in mid-June, and York, which hosts the Ebor Festival in mid-August.
The Group Two King George Stakes over five furlongs, with a prize fund increased from £100,000 to £300,000, will be worth more next year than last season’s Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York over the same trip, while the £1m prize fund for the Sussex Stakes is more than the combined value of Royal Ascot’s most prestigious Group Ones at a mile, the St James’s Palace Stakes and the Queen Anne Stakes. A £400,000 increase in the prize for the Group One Nassau Stakes at 10 furlongs, from £200,000 to £600,000, will mean that it is a serious rival for the 12-furlong Yorkshire Oaks less than three weeks later, which was worth £325,000 in 2014.