Goodwood’s Audi Stakes (registered as the King George Stakes) and York’s Totepool Middleton Stakes have both been upgraded from Group 3 to Group 2 status following the European Pattern Committee’s annual meeting in Henley-on-Thames on Thursday 14th January. British Racing only made two applications for upgrades for 2010 through its representative on the European Pattern Committee, BHA’s Director of Racing, Ruth Quinn.
The Audi Stakes, which has been sponsored by Audi since 2005, is for three-year-olds and over and run over 5 furlongs (1000m) during Glorious Goodwood. Over the past three years the race rating – the average end of season rating for the first four home – has averaged 111.08, which exceeds the 110 parameter required for Group 2 status.
The 2009 renewal was particularly strong with dual Group 1 winner Kingsgate Native beating subsequent Prix de l’Abbaye winner Total Gallery, with Borderlescott, who went on to win the Coolmore Nunthorpe for the second consecutive time, back in fourth. In 2010 the Audi Stakes will be run on Thursday 29th July.
York’s Totepool Middleton Stakes is for fillies and mares of four-years-old and upwards and is a traditional starting point of the season for the best of the older, middle-distance fillies. 2009’s renewal saw subsequent Audi Pretty Polly Stakes and Darley Yorkshire Oaks winner Dar Re Mi finish a short head second to Crystal Capella The 2008 winner, Promising Lead, like Crystal Capella trained by Sir Michael Stoute, also went on to win the Pretty Polly Stakes. The totepool Middleton Stakes will be run on Thursday May 13th 2010.
Between 2007 and 2009, the average end of season rating for the first four home has averaged 106.67, well above the 105 required for a Group 2 race for fillies and mares.
Ruth Quinn, Director of Racing for the BHA, said: “Both races are fully deserving of the upgrade and are exciting additions to Britain’s Group 2 programme. The upgrade of the King George further strengthens the British summer sprint programme by providing a quality opportunity for high-class sprinters between the Darley July Cup and the Coolmore Nunthorpe. The fact that three of the first four finishers last year are Group 1 winners speaks for itself. The European Pattern Committee has done much in recent years to enhance the programme for fillies and mares to encourage them to stay in training and compete here beyond the age of three. York’s totepool Middleton Stakes consistently attracts quality fillies and mares and as a Group 2 opportunity in the early part of the season it plays a valuable role.”
Rod Fabricius, Managing Director of Goodwood Racecourse, said: “We are thrilled that the Audi Stakes (King George) has been upgraded to Group 2 status. We have felt that it has been outperforming its Group 3 category for many years and it is pleasing to receive this recognition. We now have six Group 2 races during the season and we will continue to grow the quality of our racing which is central to our strategy that Goodwood is about staging top class racing in a stunning setting on top of the South Downs”
William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course at York, said: “The team at York are delighted that the totepool Middleton has been upgraded. York is committed to improving the quality of its racing and it becomes the fourth Group 2 of a fantastic week. This is a fitting recognition for the quality horses that have run in the race in the past and for the ongoing support of totesport.”
For more information please contact: Paul Struthers, BHA Media Relations Manager, on 020 7152 0166, 07966 590105 or at firstname.lastname@example.org