European Pattern Committee announces changes to the 2016 European Programme

21 Jan 2016 Financial/Political Racing/Fixtures
  • Issued on behalf of the European Pattern Committee

At its annual meeting held on Monday 18 January, the European Pattern Committee (EPC) considered a number of changes to Flat Pattern and Listed races in Europe for 2016.

1. Upgrades

The Committee approved upgrades for six Pattern races and four new Listed races in 2016, including the granting of Group 2 status to the Curragh Cup Stakes for three-year-olds and upwards over 14 furlongs and the Minstrel Stakes run over 7 furlongs, both of which are held at the Curragh Racecourse in Ireland.

The Flame of Tara Stakes (2yo fillies, 8 furlongs) also run at the Curragh Racecourse received an upgrade to Group 3, whilst Britain secured upgrades into the Pattern for the City of York Stakes (3yo+, 7 furlongs) and the Aston Park Stakes (4yo+, 12 furlongs), and France promoted the Prix Bertrand De Tarragon (3yo+ fillies, 1800m) to Group 3.

2. Downgrades

Five Pattern races and nine Listed races were downgraded by the Committee following their 2015 renewals. These included the downgrading of two Group 1 races in Italy, the Gran Premio Di Milano run over 2400m and the Presidente Della Repubblica, which will be run over 1800m this year having been reduced in distance from 2000m. Italy’s Group 2 Carlo Vittadini (3yo+, 1600m) was also downgraded to Group 3, along with the Group 3 Omenoni (3yo+, 1000m) which will now be run as a Listed contest.

Overall, the net position saw two Pattern races added to the European programme in 2016 and seven fewer Listed races. For more information, please see the summary below.

A full list of the races to be upgraded and downgraded is attached.

3. Quality Control / Races at Risk of Downgrading in 2017

Europe has always set a high standard in terms of quality control of its Pattern and Listed races. In accordance with the Ground Rules, races that consistently underperform are identified as at risk of being downgraded, after which the host racecourse is put on notice that if the race fails to achieve the required performance rating in 2016, it could be subject to downgrade the following year.

As a consequence of this monitoring, 30 races comprising 14 Pattern races (four Group 1s, three Group 2s and seven Group 3s) and 16 Listed races have been identified as being at risk of downgrading in 2017. Included within these figures are two Listed races held in Spain that will each receive a warning letter from the EPC in 2016. A list of Group 1 races at risk of downgrading is below.

4. Italian Racing

A positive report was provided on the situation in Italy concerning the distribution of prize money to both domestic and overseas connections. In the main the membership agreed that there had been much improvement and noted that the Italian Ministry for Agriculture was working towards ensuring prize money payments were being paid to the connections of Black Type runners within the limit of 90 days after the race set by the Committee. Moreover, it was noted that all outstanding prize money payments owing to domestic owners from 2012 to 2014 had now been paid in full.

The EPC would continue to keep the situation in Italy under constant review, and was closely monitoring the performance ratings of Italian Group and Listed races.

5. Redevelopment of Longchamp Racecourse

The Committee sanctioned the transfer of all Group and Listed races away from Longchamp Racecourse in 2016, on account of the venue’s redevelopment. It was anticipated that Longchamp would reopen in September 2017. Please see the list of changes below.

6. Three-Year-Old Sprint Division & Autumn Two-Year-Old Programme

In 2015 the EPC announced details of a number of changes to the European sprint programme designed to address the lack of opportunities for high-class three-year-old sprinters whilst also improving the overall standard of Group sprint races in Europe. Reflecting on the changes made last year, the Committee was delighted with the outcome in year one, yet agreed to keep these races under review for at least the next three years.

Perhaps the most remarkable point about the Commonwealth Cup (quite apart from the international representation) was that every runner had already earned Black Type by the time of the race. This included 13 winners of Black Type races (two Group 1, four Group 2, four Group 3 and three Listed) and the other 5 runners had all been placed in Black Type events. Also very pleasing was that the winner of every upgraded trial before the Group 1 contest also took part in the race.

The significant changes made to the dates and distances of some key international two-year-old races last year were also reviewed. Whilst enhancements to the autumn two-year-old programme remain a work in progress, the races had performed strongly in 2015 and would be given time to bed-in.

7. Staying Race Programme

It remains vital that Europe supports a strong programme for horses racing at the Classic distance of a mile and a half and beyond. The programme for the staying horse features some extremely historic and important races, headlined by the Ascot Gold Cup, yet in recent years there has been a worrying trend towards decline in the pool of staying horses that the EPC would not want to see continue.

Whilst changing trends in breeding naturally do not happen quickly, the EPC is looking to build a stronger foundation for staying horses in the future. Work is currently being carried out in Britain to enhance the programme for stayers just below Black Type level, with other EPC countries likely to follow suit. Moreover, a sub-committee of the EPC comprising Ruth Quinn (BHA), Henri Pouret (France Galop) and Jason Morris (Horse Racing Ireland) will meet in the spring of this year to consider possible enhancements to the programme at Pattern and Listed level (akin to the work recently carried out for sprinters) that would ensure the gene pool for stayers was at least maintained and the recent trend towards decline is reversed. Where possible the existing programme will be reviewed, and added to, in order to create a meaningful incentive for owners and breeders to produce and retain staying horses.

Announcing these changes, Brian Kavanagh, Chairman of the European Pattern Committee, said: “The quality of Europe’s Black Type programme remains strong and it was pleasing to note that six of the ten highest rated races in the world as announced by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities on Tuesday are staged in Europe. 2016 will see 413 Group and 433 Listed races run in Europe, a decrease of 5 Black Type races overall. The Committee will continue to implement the highest standards of quality control.

It was also encouraging to hear more positive reports from Italy, although their races continued to underperform. The success of the new sprint programme has encouraged the Committee to adopt a Pan-European approach to the staying division and we have established a sub-committee to deal with this specific issue.”


Notes to editors:






Upgraded from Group 3 to Group 2
26/06/16 Curragh Cup Curragh, IRE 3yo+ 14f
17/07/16 Minstrel Curragh, IRE 3yo+ 7f

Upgraded from Listed to Group 3
14/05/16 Aston Park Newbury, GB 4yo+ 12f
17/09/16 Bertrand De Tarragon Maisons-Laffitte, FR 3yo+ f 1800m
19/08/16 City of York York, GB 3yo+ 7f
28/08/16 Flame Of Tara Curragh, IRE 2yo f 8f

New Listed Races
18/05/16 As yet unnamed Ayr, GB 4yo+ f 10f
12/10/16 As yet unnamed Bath, GB 3yo+ f 14f
May 2016 As yet unnamed Venue TBC, IRE 3yo 6f
22/07/16 Her Majesty’s Plate Down Royal , IRE 3yo+ 14f

Downgraded from Group 1 to Group 2
29/05/16* Gran Premio Di Milano Milan, ITY 4yo+* 2400m
(Change of date from 07/06/15 and change of condition from 3yo+)
08/05/16 Presidente Della Repubblica Capannelle, ITY 4yo+ 1800m*
(Change of distance from 2000m)

Downgraded from Group 2 to Group 3
29/05/16 Carlo Vittadini Milan, ITY 3yo+ 1600m

Downgraded from Group 3 to Listed
16/10/16 Omenoni Milan, ITY 3yo+ 1000m
03/05/16* Pramms Memorial Jagersro, SWE 3yo+ 1730m
(Change of date from 12/05/15)

Downgraded from Listed

Georges Trabaud Marseille Borely, FR 3yo 2000m
Policeman Cagnes-Sur-Mer, FR 3yo 2000m
Contessina Fontainbleau, FR 3yo+ 1200m
Preis Der Dreijahrigen Dusseldorf, GER 3yo 1500m
Nereide Renne Munich, GER 3yo+ f 2000m
Coppa d’oro di Siracusa Siracusa, ITY 4yo+ 2300m
Criterium Partenopeo Naples, ITY 2yo 1500m
Semb Hovedgard Hoppelop Overvoll, NOR 3yo+ f 1800m
Svenskt Derby Jagersro, SWE 3yo 2400m



Summary of upgrades-downgrades




04/10/15 Longchamp CADRAN 4yo+ 4000m

27/09/15 Milan VITTORIO DI CAPUA 3yo+ 1600m
18/10/15 Milan JOCKEY CLUB 3yo+ 2400m
08/11/15 Rome ROMA 3yo+ 2000m



Date 2015
Racecourse Group Race Date 2016
Mon 6 April Saint-Cloud Prix La Force Sun 3 April
Sun 12 April Chantilly Prix FontainebleauPrix de La GrottePrix d’Harcourt Sun 10 April
Sun 3 May Chantilly Prix de BarbevillePrix Noailles Sun 24 April
Sun 3 May Saint-Cloud Prix Ganay Sun 1 May
Wed 6 May Saint-Cloud Prix d’HedouvillePrix Greffulhe Sun 8 May
Sun 10 May Deauville Poules d’Essai M/F    (S.C)Prix Hocquart             2000m Sun 15 or 16 May
Prix Saint-AlaryPrix de Saint-Georges Mon 16 May
Tue 19 May Chantilly Prix Vanteaux            1800m Fri 20 May
Sun 24 May Saint-Cloud Prix Vicomtesse Vigier Sun 29 May
Sat 30 May Chantilly Prix d’Ispahan            1800m Tue 24 May
Mon 8 June M-Laffitte Prix du Palais-Royal   (S.C) Sat 4 June
Thu 18 June Chantilly La Coupe Wed 22 June
Sat 4 July Deauville Prix de La Pte Maillot  (S.C) Sat 2 July
Tue 14 July Saint-Cloud Grand Prix de Paris Thu 14 July
Thu 3 September Chantilly Prix des ChenesPrix du Pin Thu 8 September
Sun 6 September Saint-Cloud Prix La RochettePrix Lutece Sun 4 September
Sun 13 September Chantilly ARC Trials Sun 11 September
Sat 19 September M-Laffitte Prix du Prince d’Orange Sat 17 September
Sat 3 October Chantilly Week-end ARC Sat 1 October
Sun 4 October Chantilly Sun 2 October
Mon 5 October Chantilly Prix de Conde Sat 8 October
Sun 18 October Chantilly Prix du Conseil de Paris Sun 16 October
Sun 25 October Saint-Cloud Prix Royal-Oak Sun 23 October