For two consecutive years Will Johnson worked alongside 13 Group 1 and Classic-winning racehorse trainer Roger Varian as his assistant trainer at the historic Carlburg Stables in Newmarket. Currently based in Ireland throughout the summer months, the Australian has also worked with Group 1 winning trainer Robert Smerdon down under. During his time in England, saddling winners across the country was his task du jour. Who better to ask all about Glorious Goodwood than this racing expert?
Having attended over the past two years, the quality of horseflesh combined with a well-dressed yet more relaxed crowd is what Will believes are the key qualities of Glorious. Being able to watch the horses do battle on the famous ‘Downs’ is a true spectacle on its own. “Head up to the highest viewing area in the grandstand and capture the racecourse set against the rural backdrop” is his number one tip: on a sunny summer day, it will not disappoint.
The Sussex Stakes, dubbed “Dual on the Downs” is one of the best races in the British Calendar. Held on the Wednesday, the Classic generation takes on the older horses for the title of best miler, and is a must-see! Style Tips for the Gents: Without a panama hat you’re a fish out of water according to our Australian expert. Another top tip is sporting a different type of suit: “You’ll be in touch with the loyalist and purists of the week if you can sport a linen suit”.
Don’t miss: Having a bottle of Champers or a jug of Pimm’s in front of the parade ring, whilst judging the runners for the next race. On the after-party location: “So long as you’re celebrating a win, there is no rush in leaving the course!” Will discloses.
Insider’s Top Tip: If you haven’t already booked or have friends with an estate nearby, check out either the Goodwood Hotel or Airbnb to pick up a place to base yourselves for the week. Sound like an Insider: “Can’t wait for this year’s Duel on the Downs in the Sussex Stakes” Rider & Trainer combo to look out for: Andrea Atzeni and Roger Varian have been on fire to date, and Johnson is hopeful they can discontinue Aidain O’Brien & Ryan Moore’s rule at the top.
Horse to look out for: Big Orange! “He has become the people’s horse and hopefully he can win the Goodwood Cup for a third consecutive year. He appears to be going as well as ever!” Will concludes.