The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) today welcomed the outcome of last week’s annual meeting of the European Pattern Committee (EPC) at which changes to a number of Pattern and Listed races for the 2015 Flat season were announced.
Of particular note among the changes are the amendments to the two-year-old programme which will see Newmarket’s Middle Park Stakes staged on 26 September as opposed to the same day as the Dewhurst Stakes. In addition, the European Pattern Committee sanctioned the return of Future Champions Day to the weekend between the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris and British Champions Day at Ascot. In 2014 the fixture was held on a Friday on the eve of British Champions Day.
Ruth Quinn, BHA Director of Racing, said:
“It was a very positive meeting last week. I am delighted that there appears to be a genuine commitment from all the member countries to work together. The consensus that has emerged is just reward for a lot of hard work and follows extensive discussions over the course of the last two years.
“Changes in France have opened the door to move the Dewhurst and Future Champions Day back a week and the earlier date for the Middle Park does, we believe, represent a positive step towards producing a better balanced autumn two-year-old programme. We look forward to working with Newmarket on the precise make-up of their programme and congratulate them on the upgrade of the Dahlia Stakes at the Guineas meeting to Group 2 which provides a further boost to opportunities for older fillies and mares in Britain.
“It is recognised by the EPC that the ambition to improve the structure of the European two-year-old programme will prove to be an iterative process and, as ever, we will actively contribute to that process in an effort to reach the best outcome for all concerned. In a similar vein, we are also encouraged by the EPC’s stated commitment to have an in-depth and fresh examination of the opportunities for middle-distance and staying horses, to see if future measures are needed to bolster the programme and assist in future-proofing the development of what is a key category in Europe.
“When reviewed in conjunction with the exciting and considerable step forward made by the previously announced changes to the 2015 sprint programme, together with new sponsorship deals which will enhance prize money at major meetings, these measures will help contribute to what should be a fantastic Flat season.”
Amy Starkey, East Regional Director of Jockey Club Racecourses, who runs Newmarket Racecourses, said:
“We are very pleased our application to move the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes has been accepted as part of a review of the two-year-old programme and welcome today’s announcement by the European Pattern Committee, including the upgrade of the now Group 2 Dahlia Stakes. We are now discussing with the British Horseracing Authority a range of further options that follow for Newmarket and the good of British racing.”
Notes for Editors:
1. The press release announcing the changes to the European programme can be seen here: https://www.britishhorseracing.com/press_releases/european-pattern-committee-announces-changes-2015-european-programme/