The BHB has secured the agreement of the European Pattern Committee for several important changes which will enhance the British Pattern in 2000.
The Prince of Wales’s Stakes, run over 1_-miles at Royal Ascot, is to be upgraded from Group 2 to Group 1 status. This will provide Ascot with a Group 1 race on each day of the Royal meeting, with the Prince of Wales’s Stakes to be run on the Wednesday and the Coronation Stakes switched to Friday. The promotion of this race, which will see its value enhanced considerably from £150,000 to £250,000, will hopefully ensure that the race continues to attract the best older middle distance horses from Europe and elsewhere. The standard of the race has been consistently high in recent years, exceeding the Group 1 parameter of 115 by 5lb on each of its past three runnings, and with the increasing importance of 10 furlongs at international level, it should appeal to an ever expanding pool of horses. In future 3yo runners, of which there have in any case been very few, will be excluded with the race restricted to 4yos & upwards. This will re-inforce the role of both the Grand Prix de Paris (3yo only Group 1), run 12 days later, and the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown, which will become the first all-age championship event in Great Britain.
The Somerville Tattersall Stakes, run over 7-furlongs for 2yo colts & geldings at Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire meeting, will be promoted from Listed to Group 3. This race, which has consistently achieved the highest rating of any British 2yo Listed race, will provide an ideal opportunity for 2yo colts as a prep race prior to the Dewhurst or Racing Post Trophy in mid-October. It also sits very well in the European calendar as at present there is no 7-furlong opportunity for 2yo colts & geldings between the Prix de la Salamandre in mid-September and the Dewhurst in mid-October (both Group 1).
The Sun Chariot, a Group 2 race for 3yos & upwards fillies and mares also run at Newmarket’s Cambridgeshire meeting, will be cut in distance from 10 to 8 furlongs. This coincides with the promotion of the Prix de l’Opera (run on the same weekend) in France from Group 2 to Group 1 status and a change in that race’s distance from just under 9_ furlongs to 10 furlongs. This change in distance for the Sun Chariot will provide 3yo+ fillies with an important mile opportunity in the autumn, which was previously deficient from the fillies’ programme in Europe.
The Jockey Club Cup, a Group 3 race for 3yos & upwards over 2 miles, will be run two weeks later than at present, switching from Cambridgeshire Day to Champions Day. This will avoid the previous direct clash with the Prix du Cadran/Hubert de Chaudenay, both run at Longchamp over the Arc weekend, and will provide an ideal end of season target for stayers in Great Britain.
MD say’s ( no contact)