The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today announced on behalf of the European Pattern Committee (EPC) upgrades to two British Pattern races as well as the movement of one major race in the British Flat racing calendar.
The highlight of these developments is the upgrading of the British Champions Long Distance Cup run at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day. The race has now achieved Group 2 status and means that British Champions Day now features three Group 1 and two Group 2 races.
Also, the Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes which is run at Salisbury in September has been upgraded from Listed to Group 3 status while Newmarket’s Group 1 Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes has been moved back one week from its latest slot on the last weekend in September to its historical position the first weekend in October.
The full press release which contains more details of all European races upgrades, downgrades and moves as well as other topics covered by the EPC at their meeting on 16 January can be found here: http://www.britishhorseracing.presscentre.com/Press-Releases/European-Pattern-Committee-announces-changes-to-the-2014-European-Black-Type-Programme-479.aspx.
Speaking regarding the upgrade to the British Champions Long Distance Cup and other issues discussed by the EPC, Ruth Quinn, Director of Racing for BHA, said:
“We are delighted that the British Champions Long Distance Cup has been upgraded to Group 2 status. This serves to strengthen QIPCO British Champions Day, which now features three Group 1 races and two Group 2 races, and further establishes it as a fitting finale to the European Flat racing calendar.
“An application was also made to upgrade the Sprint on British Champions Day to Group 1 status. This was not successful as it does not yet meet the criteria, though it remains our longer term objective to achieve this upgrade. To this end we also welcome the agreement of the EPC to take a more holistic look at the Pattern race programme for Sprinters across Europe, together with the Pattern programme for two-year-olds and for Stayers. BHA are heavily involved in these proposals and we look forward to discussing them at the specially arranged EPC meeting in April.”
Speaking regarding the upgrading of the British Champions Long Distance Cup, Rod Street, Chief Executive of British Champions Series, said:
“The upgrade of the stayers race to Group 2 on QIPCO British Champions Day reflects the continued progress of this event, following the upgrade of the Fillies and Mares race to Group 1 last year. An additional £100k will be added to the race value, taking it to £300k, making it the second most valuable staying race in Britain, after the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.”
Speaking regarding the upgrading of the Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes, Jeremy Martin, Executive Director at Salisbury, said:
“We are delighted that the Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes has been upgraded to Group 3 status. It has been a very well performing race and deserved it, and we are grateful to BHA and EPC for their support. We are committed to improving the quality of racing at Salisbury whenever possible. Since 2001, we have gone from having just two Listed races in our annual programme, to now having three Listed races and two Group 3 races”.
The 2013 running of this six furlong two-year old fillies race was won by the Lady Cecil-trained Joyeuse but also featured recent impressive Meydan winner Wedding Ring who has been succesful on all three of her outings since finishing third in the Dick Poole. Meanwhile the 2012 victor Winning Express went on to finish fourth in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May 2013.
Speaking regarding the relocating of the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes in the Pattern, Michael Prosser, Head of Racing for the Jockey Club, East region, said:
“The switching of the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes significantly enhances our excellent card on Saturday 4 October, which already contains important Tattersalls Millions races. Total prize money for the race-day will now exceed £1million.
“The move to 4 October for the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes also ensures a three-week gap between it and the Matron Stakes, following the creation of Irish Champions weekend.”
Full details of the upgrades and downgrades to Britain’s Pattern race programme for 2014 are as follows:
Upgraded from Group 3 to Group 2
British Champions Long Distance Cup Ascot 3yo+ 16 furlongs 18 October
Upgraded from Listed to Group 3
Dick Poole Fillies’ Stakes Salisbury 2yo f 6 furlongs 4 September
Downgraded from Group 3 to Listed
Dee Stakes Chester 3yo c&g 10 furlongs 9 May
Queen’s Vase Ascot 3yo 16 furlongs 20 June