Issued on behalf of the European Pattern Committee
At its primary 2023 meeting held on Friday 3 February at the offices of Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) in Co. Kildare, the European Pattern Committee (EPC) reviewed all Pattern and Listed races staged in Europe in 2022 and approved a number of changes to the 2023 European Flat racing programme. The committee sanctioned a total of 827 Black Type races (852 in 2022) to be held in Europe in 2023, comprising 412 Group races (425 in 2022) and 415 Listed races (427 in 2022).
Upgrades, downgrades and additions
In Ireland, the Listed 2,000 Guineas Trial, a seven-furlong race for three-year-old colts and geldings at Leopardstown in April, has been upgraded to Group 3. Ireland will also stage a new Listed race for fillies and mares aged three years and older over eight furlongs at Navan in June.
Germany will stage two new Listed races in 2023, both with a view to strengthening the stayers’ Black Type programme in that country. The first will be a race for three-years-old and older over 3000m at Hannover in July, and the other will be a race for two-year-olds over a distance of 2000m, also at Hannover and scheduled for October.
Sweden will stage a new Black Type race in 2023, with the Challenge Stakes at Bro Park over seven furlongs for three-years-old and older being upgraded to Listed status.
The EPC also agreed to upgrade Poland’s flagship race, the Wielka Warszawska, to Listed status as part of the committee’s support of the emerging racing nations in the European and Mediterranean Horseracing Federation. The race will be run at Sluzewiec in Warsaw on the first Sunday of October, over a distance of 2600m for three-years-old and older.
Other changes were some alterations in date for notable Pattern races in Europe in 2023. In France, the Group 1 Saint-Alary at ParisLongchamp (3yo fillies, 2000m) will move from late-May to the Poule d’Essai fixture on 14 May. The Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (4yo+, 2400m) will move back by a week to Saint Cloud’s evening fixture on 8 July. In Ireland, the Group 2 Curragh Cup (3yo+,14f) will move from the Irish Derby weekend in late-June to the Irish Oaks weekend on 22 July.
Across Europe, a total of 11 Pattern races have been downgraded in 2023, with a further eight Listed races losing that status. Those races are:
- Group 2 Greffulhe downgraded to Group 3
- Group 2 Hocquart downgraded to Group 3
- Group 2 Badener Meile downgraded to Group 3
- Group 3 Von Lotto Hamburg downgraded to Listed
- Listed Grosser Preis Von Meravis loses Listed status
- Listed Grosser Preis der Sparkasse Hannover loses Listed status
- Listed Sparkassenpreis loses Listed status
- Listed Dusseldorfer Stutenpreis loses Listed status
- Group 2 Kilboy Estate downgraded to Group 3
- Group 3 Concorde downgraded to Listed
- Group 2 Milano downgraded to Group 3
- Group 2 Federico Tesio downgraded to Group 3
- Group 3 Tudini downgraded to Listed
- Group 3 Sergio Cumani downgraded to Listed
- Group 3 Umbria downgraded to Listed
- Listed Criterium Nazionale loses Listed status
- Listed Gardone loses Listed status
- Listed Bersaglio loses Listed status
- Listed Unire loses Listed status
Meanwhile, as previously announced earlier this year, Britain took the decision to voluntarily downgrade 11 Black Type races (three Pattern races and eight Listed races) for 2023, as part of a wider – and ongoing – strategic review of the Pattern and Listed programme.
Races at risk of downgrade in 2024
A total of 48 Pattern and Listed races will be at risk of potential downgrade in 2024 depending on their performance in 2023. By nation and/or region, the spread of races is as follows:
Britain – 2
France – 8
Germany – 13
Ireland – 4
Italy – 16
Scandinavia – 4
Turkey – 1
Jason Morris, Chair of the EPC, said:
“2023 will see a significant reduction in the number of Flat Group and Listed races staged within Europe, with 25 less Black Type races to be staged overall. This reflects the voluntary downgrades that Britain has already announced for this year to aid the competitiveness of their Pattern race programme as part of an on-going strategic review. Downgrades were also applied by the European Pattern Committee to a number of Group 2, Group 3 and Listed races under ground rules which strictly enforce the highest standards of international quality control with underperforming races facing automatic demotion.
“At the same time the committee remains keen to encourage the development of the sport in the smaller racing jurisdictions throughout Europe, and Poland will now become the 11th country with a Black Type race in 2023 (Britain, France, Germany and Ireland are full EPC members; Italy, Scandinavia (representing Denmark, Norway and Sweden) and Turkey are associate members; while Spain and Poland are emerging nations with one Listed race each).”