European Pattern Committee announces changes to the 2024 European programme of Flat black type races

13 Feb 2024 BHA Features

Issued on behalf of the European Pattern Committee

At its primary 2024 meeting held on Friday 2 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 2023 and approved a number of changes to the 2024 European Flat racing programme.

The EPC sanctioned a total of 826 black type races (838 in 2023) to be held in Europe in 2024, comprising 415 Group races (418 in 2023) and 411 Listed races (420 in 2023).

Upgrades, downgrades and additions

In Ireland, the Salsabil, a 10-furlong race for three-year-old fillies at Navan in April, has been upgraded from Listed to Group 3. Ireland will also stage a new Listed race for three-year-olds over 12-furlongs at Gowran Park in late July.

The EPC was pleased to approve an application from Denmark to stage a new black type race in 2024, with the Golden Mile at Klampenborg over 1600m for three-years-olds and upwards in May being upgraded to Listed status.

Although no new Listed race applications had been received in 2024 from emerging racing nations who are members of the European and Mediterranean Horseracing Federation – as part of the flagship race scheme – the EPC was pleased to note the strong first edition of the Wielka Warszawska in Poland as a Listed race in 2023. The Gran Premio de Madrid in Spain also continues to perform well after being allocated Listed status by the EPC in 2022.

There were other adjustments for notable Pattern races in Europe in 2024. In France, the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (4yo+, 2400m) will move one week earlier, back to its traditional slot at Saint Cloud’s fixture on 30 June. The Group 2 Prix Eugène Adam (3yo, 2000m) will also make the same move. Another point of interest in France is that the Group 1 Prix Royal-Oak (3yo+, 3100m) will move venues in 2024 from ParisLongchamp to Saint-Cloud. In Germany, both the Group 2 German 2000 Guineas (3yo, 1600m, now 20 May) and Group 2 German 1000 Guineas (3yo fillies, 1600m, now 26 May) will be run nine days earlier in 2024. Conversely, the Group 2 Grosser Preis der Badischen Wirtschaft (4yo+, 2200m) will be pushed back to 2 June this year.

The EPC remains resolute in strictly enforcing the highest standards of international quality control. Across Europe, a total of five Pattern races have been downgraded in 2024, with a further 11 Listed races losing that status. Those races are:

•    Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary (ParisLongchamp) downgraded to Group 2

•    Listed Grosser Preis von Rossman (Hannover) loses Listed status
•    Listed Grosser Preis der VGH Versicherungen (Hannover) loses Listed status
•    Listed Bwin Sommerpreis (Dresden) loses Listed status

•    Group 3 Gladness (Curragh) downgraded to Listed
•    Listed Patton (Dundalk) loses Listed status

•    Group 2 Premio Presidente della Repubblica (Rome) downgraded to Group 3
•    Group 3 Premio Carlo d’Alessio (Rome) downgraded to Listed
•    Listed Pisa loses Listed status
•    Listed Regione Toscana (Pisa) loses Listed status
•    Listed Emanuele Filiberto (Milan) loses Listed status
•    Listed Tadolina (Rome) loses Listed status
•    Listed Criterium Varesino Mem Virginio Curti (Varese) loses Listed status
•    Listed M.Se Ippolito Fassati di Balzola (Milan) loses Listed status

•    Listed Jagersro Sprint (Jagersro) loses Listed status

•    Group 2 Bosphorus Cup (Veliefendi) downgraded to Group 3

Meanwhile, as part of Britain’s continued strategic review of its Pattern and Listed programme, that country took the decision to voluntarily delete three black type races for 2024 – the Group 3 Sovereign Stakes (Salisbury), Listed Ganton (York) and Listed Scarbrough (Doncaster).

Races at risk of downgrade in 2025

A total of 42 Pattern and Listed races will be at risk of potential downgrade in 2025 depending on their performance in 2024. By nation, the spread of races is as follows:

Britain – 3
France – 6
Germany – 7
Ireland – 5
Italy – 20
Turkey – 1

The committee also considered the programme of Group 1 and Group 2 races for two-years-old in Europe.  It was agreed that a sub-committee would be set up, comprising representatives from BHA, HRI and France Galop, specifically to explore options for how the balance of this programme might be improved.  The aim would be for any changes emanating from this review, and subsequently approved by the EPC, to be introduced for 2025.

Jason Morris, Chair of the EPC, said:

“This year will see another contraction in the number of Pattern and Listed races to be staged throughout Europe, with the total number having declined from 852 races in 2022 to 826 in 2024. The European Pattern Committee continues to enforce the most stringent international quality control measures so that the racing and breeding industries can have the utmost confidence in the quality of European black type.

“However, this also reflects a worrying overall decline in the ratings of European black type races, with an increasing number of races coming under review and many 3yo races in particular struggling to achieve their required parameters. The reported increasing exports of quality horses overseas is of concern to the EPC, and the major European racing nations are committed to working together to ensure the continued production and retention of sufficient high-class horses to sustain our domestic and international programmes, with a particular focus on the middle distance and staying race areas.”