Britain’s status as the country with the highest-quality racehorses in Europe is reflected in the fact that 2004 will see the strongest programme of major Flat races it has ever staged.
This year will see more Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3 races run in Britain then ever before, with the total reaching 134, compared to 123 in 2003 and 110 in 2000.
2004 will also see 147 Listed races (the class of race immediately below Group 3), including four brand new contests and six which have been upgraded to Listed status. These are announced by BHB today.
The number of Group 1s has increased to 31 following the already-announced promotions of the Falmouth Stakes and the Sun Chariot Stakes, both run over a mile for three-year-old and upward fillies.
The Group 2 programme has risen by five to 40, with the Coventry Stakes and Queen Mary Stakes (both Royal Ascot), Lancashire Oaks (Haydock), Lonsdale Cup (formerly Lonsdale Stakes (York)) and the Park Hill Stakes and Park Stakes (both Doncaster) all achieving upgrades from Group 3. Royal Ascot will also stage a new Group 2 over a mile for four-year-old and upward fillies and mares.
This year’s Group 3 programme, up to 63 from 59 last year, includes 11 races which were upgraded from their Listed status in 2003 in recognition of their strength.
The 147 Listed races in 2004 include four brand new contests and six which have been upgraded to Listed status. Two of the new races, the Snowdrop Fillies’ Stakes at Kempton and the Land O’Burns Fillies’ Stakes at Ayr reflect the need for additional Listed-class opportunities due to the increased strength of the female horse population.
In addition, the Midsummer Stakes at Windsor in July, over a mile for three-year-olds and upwards, and the Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes at Beverley in August, over five furlongs for three-year-olds and upwards, have been created.
Two contests for juveniles, the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot and the valuable Two-Year-Old Trophy at Redcar in October have also gained Listed status. The upgrades are completed by the August Stakes at Windsor in August and the Velcourt Paradise Stakes at Ascot in April.
Details of the ten additional Listed Races in 2004 are below.
BHB Racing Director Ruth Quinn said: “The Pattern and Listed race programme in 2004 is a reflection of the strength in depth of British Racing. High-class horses across all distances will this year benefit from an extensive programme of opportunities.”
1. Group status is conferred on a race by agreement of the European Pattern Committee, the members of which are Britain, France, Germany, Ireland and Italy. Listed race status is awarded by each country without approval being required from the Committee, but each country sets and publishes minimum rating parameters for their Listed races and ensures that those races meet the rating requirements.
2. British Racing’s five-year Group race totals are as follows.
G1 G2 G3 Total
2000 27 29 54 110
2001 27 29 55 111
2002 28 29 55 112
2003 29 35 59 123
2004 31 40 63 134
3. In the 2003 International Classifications, 52% of European-trained horses were based in Britain.
4. Additional Listed Races in 2004:
Mar 20 Lingfield Spring Cup 3yo 7f
Apr 10 Kempton Snowdrop Fillies Stakes 4yo+ F+M 1m
Apr 28 Ascot Velcourt Paradise Stakes 4yo+ 1m
Jun 15 Ascot Windsor Castle Stakes 2yo 5f
Jun 26 Windsor Midsummer Stakes 3yo+ 1m
Jul 19 Ayr Land O’Burns Fillies Stakes 3yo+ F+M 5f
Jul 31 Newmarket EBF Stubbs Stakes 4yo+ 1m
Aug 28 Beverley Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes 3yo+ 5f
Aug 28 Windsor August Stakes 3yo+ 1m 4f (1m 3.5f)
Oct 2 Redcar Two-Year-Old Trophy 2yo 6f