Talking Horses: Goodwood and York crowds offer hope for racing recovery


Greg Wood

The welcome return of racegoers to the major meetings is a boost but the smaller tracks face a challenging future

A little over a month into the resumption of racing with full attendance and the crowd figures, at the sport’s biggest venues at least, are as strong as anyone could have realistically hoped to see. Two major Festivals – Glorious Goodwood and York’s Ebor meeting – have welcomed racegoers at pre-Covid levels, with the four days on the Knavesmire last week pulling in more than 83,000 spectators including 20,000 on Friday, a record for the third day.

Friday’s card included the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes and the epic battle between Stradivarius and Spanish Mission in the Lonsdale Stakes, which was as fine an advertisement for racing as you could ever wish to see. If that does not persuade a big chunk of the crowd to return next year – and perhaps a few more of their friends to join them – then nothing will.

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