- Three-year-olds and upwards (three-year-olds only until 1999). One mile and six furlongs. First run 1965
The expansion of the Goodwood programme in 1965 introduced an August fixture that included a new race, the March Stakes. The race name derives from the Earldom of March, a title inherited by the eldest sons of the Dukes of Richmond.
The initial running went to Vivat Rex, who subsequently finished a game second in the 1966 Goodwood Cup. Ribofilio, the champion two-year-old of 1968, secured the 1969 March Stakes before finishing second in the St Leger of that year. Two colts, Commanche Run (1984) and Michelozzo (1989) have added the season’s final Classic to a March Stakes victory, while the great stayer Le Moss was triumphant in the 1978 renewal of the Goodwood contest. Le Moss went on to win the Gold Cup at Ascot both in 1979 and 1980.
The race, previously just for three-year-olds, was opened to older horses for the first time in 1999 and the remarkable Yavanna’s Pace, then seven, vanquished the younger generation. First Charter became the first dual winner of the March Stakes, winning in 2002 and 2003, and he was followed by Tungsten Strike, successful in 2007 and 2008.
Three trainers have dominated since 2000, winning all bar one of the runnings. Marcus Tregoning has had two victories, while Sir Michael Stoute and Amanda Perrett have each won three times. Sir Michael’s overall record in the race is six victories.
Mourilyan won well in 2009 for the father (trainer) and son (jockey) combination of Gary and Ryan Moore and on his next start for a new trainer, South African-based Herman Brown, came third in Australia’s Group One Melbourne Cup.
Moore came within a short-head of saddling the winner two years running but was foiled as the Luca Cumani-trained Drunken Sailor, the 5–4 favourite, got up in the final stride to defeat the front-running Bergo. Cumani has won the race on four occasions.
The 45 runnings have seen 21 favourites succeed, while the longest-priced victor was 9–1 chance Tungsten Strike in 2007.