QATAR has thrown its enormous financial muscle behind the popular Goodwood Racing Festival in the UK, with sponsorship to commence with the inaugural Qatar Goodwood Festival from Tuesday, 28th July to Saturday, 1st August 2015.
Goodwood announced this week that the new partnership will result in over £2 million being invested into prize money for eight key races during the 2015 Festival as well as a commitment from Qatar to increase this year-on-year. Total prize money on offer for the week will now total £4.5 million, which will make the Qatar Goodwood Festival one of the most significant and valuable meetings in the world.
Lord March, owner of Goodwood at the signing ceremony with Hamad bin Abdulrahman al-Attiyah (right), President of Qatar Equestrian Federation (Photo originally published by Gulf News).
Mr Hamad Al Attiyah, President of the Qatar Equestrian Federation, said: “Goodwood is already one of the most iconic sporting festivals of the British summer season and we are delighted to be the title sponsor over the five days. The sponsorship demonstrates Qatar’s further commitment to British racing and, with such huge prize-money on offer, we hope it will help to attract international runners from all over the world as well as continuing to see the best in Britain, France and Ireland.”
The Group 1 Qatar Sussex Stakes, scheduled for Wednesday, 29th July, has a total prize fund of £1 million cementing its position as one of the most valuable mile races in the world.
The Group 1 Qatar Nassau Stakes, the feature race on the Saturday of the Qatar Goodwood Festival is now worth £600,000, making it the most significant midsummer race for fillies.
Each Group 2 feature race, The Qatar Lennox Stakes (Tuesday), The Qatar Goodwood Cup (Thursday) and The Qatar King George Stakes (Friday) are now worth £300,000, recognising their recent records for attracting some of the best horses at their respective distances. In addition, Qatar has guaranteed that if any current Group 2 race achieves Group 1 status, the prize money will rise to at least £500,000.
Other races to benefit from increased prize money are the two Group 2 races for two-year-olds, The Qatar Vintage Stakes and The Qatar Richmond Stakes, each of which will run for £200,000, supporting their status as the proving grounds for future champions.
The Qatar Stewards’ Cup is the headline handicap of the week with prize money now totalling £250,000 and, as part of this uplift, the consolation race rises to £75,000. This is a perfect example of how strongly Goodwood and Qatar feel about supporting racing at all levels.
The Qatar Sussex Stakes, The Qatar Goodwood Cup and The Qatar Nassau Stakes will remain part of the QIPCO British Champion Series.
Lord March, the owner of Goodwood, is understandably feeling jolly good at present and he commented: “I am delighted that Qatar have decided to play a significant part in Goodwood’s position as one of the finest racing experiences in the world. Goodwood has, for more than 200 years, been about the best racing in the most Englishof settings, accessible to everyone. Our partnership with Qatar will make an enormous contribution to horseracing in the UK.”