Glorious Goodwood. That was the trending hashtag on social media as we watched the gee gees hurtle down the beautiful Goodwood racecourse on Saturday.
The Goodwood Estate is located just outside of Chichester in West Sussex so is just 60 miles away from London and around 30 miles from Brighton. BC and I had taken an early morning coach with a lovely group of people from Victoria and enjoyed a very picturesque drive throught the country villages and rolling hills of West Sussex. And we’d all dressed to impress – partly because, well that’s what you do at the races and partly because, we’d been invited into the QREC (Qatar Racing & Equestrian Club) Box – the swankiest one there is.
And may I add, we were invited by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al Thani (Oooooh we were VIPs). I was particularly made up when we were handed this sublime invitation.
This was the first year that Qatar Tourism Authority had been the sponsors of the Goodwood Festival and they certainly made an impressionable welcome.
Having Qatar as their sponsor for 2015 meant the total prize money for the week was a rather large sum of £4.5m. And while Ladies’ Day is by far the highlight at Goodwood (expect jockeys sporting silks designed by coveted fashion designers, ladies dressing to impress and lots of famous faces), the Saturday, as we found, is equally as fabulous.
As we arrived, we were handed beautiful flower pins, which followed by us having photographs taken in front of the wall of red carnations. Apparently it took a team of 50 people a whole 24 hours to put this spectacular floral creation together. And what an amazing impact it made.
Me with these very lovely ladies, Vicky & Anna…
Photos snapped, we headed up to the QREC Box where Harrods were providing some delicious canopé-style dishes and flowing champagne. The box was set up with various tables, chaise longues and sofas and various plates of beautifully presented chocolates and confectionary. Outside we had a veranda that offered fantastic views over the course.
After a sip or two of fizz, it was a short walk over to one of the restaurants in for a very colourful buffet lunch of smoked salmon, seafood, and all sorts of fresh salads.
We just about managed to fit in some of these rather gorgeous desserts.
Handily, there was a tote in the dining area so we could place our bets for the first race. And the balcony of the restaurant we were in was the ideal place to watch it.
I had my money on Golden Steps – Frankie Dettori’s horse – and of course it won. (woop woop). We also had fantastic views from here of the jockeys as they left the course.
Here’s Frankie (below) being interviewed by the press…
We headed back over to the QREC Box for more delicious nibbles and champagne, and we also had a little wander around the grounds (which, with various champagne bars and places to watch the races are wonderful by the way).
There were lots of wins (it was my lucky day), a fabulous atmosphere and lots of beautiful sunshine.
The views here alone are spectacular. From the higher levels of the enclosure, you can see rolling hills that stretch from Chichester to the coast. You may even spot the Isle of Wight. Had we stayed late, there are post-race celebrations, jazz musicians and a party vibe that go on into the evening.
It’s one of the most prestigious events in the racing calendar and they’re right, Goodwood really is glorious. I would highly recommend it as a fantastic summer’s day out.
Huge thank you to Hills Balfour and Qatar Tourism Authority for hosting us at the Qatar Goodwood Festival. All views expressed here are my own. For more information about Goodwood Festival, head over to Goodwood.com. For more information on Qatar Tourism Authority, visit Qatartourism.gov.qa.