Britain will stage three new Group races in 2012, following the European Pattern Committee’s upgrading of races at Haydock Park, Goodwood and Sandown Park from Listed to Group 3 status.
Ruth Quinn, Director of Racing for the British Horseracing Authority, said:
“The high calibre of past winners speaks for itself as justification for the upgrade of these races. All three have produced subsequent Group 1 winners in recent years and we are delighted they have been recognised by the European Pattern Committee.
“We are very proud of the continuing high standard of the black-type programme in Britain. These three new Group 3 races will add yet more strength in depth to a burgeoning Pattern and improve the balance of our programme, which we work very hard to maintain and hone year in and year out. We take our responsibility to quality control, and to the value of black-type, very seriously and it is rewarding that the quality of horses competing in our Pattern races in Britain remains exceptionally high.”
The first of the upgrades is The EBF Pinnacle Stakes for fillies and mares aged 4 or above at Haydock Park on 2nd June 2012. The 12 furlong race is always of high calibre and has seen several of its victors go on to achieve significant success in recent years, with fillies such as Trick or Treat who won the 2007 Princess Royal Stakes (now British Champions Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes), and Folk Opera who went on to win the Group 2 Prix Jean Romanet and Group 1 E.P. Taylor in Canada in 2008 on its roll of honour.
Kirkland Tellwright, Clerk of the Course for Haydock Park, said:
“We are very happy to have the performance of the race recognised in this way. The race, which has been sponsored by The European Breeders Fund from inception, was first run in 2003, when it was won by Albanova, who went on to win three Group 1 races in Germany. Its success is a feather in the cap of those who, at that time, advocated the creation of a framework of middle distances for mares and fillies. Their foresight has been our reward.”
The RSA Thoroughbred Stakes is scheduled for 3rd August at Goodwood. This mile race for 3 year olds has a distinguished history with horses such as Court Masterpiece and Cape Cross collecting the prize on their way to Group 1 success.
Adam Waterworth, Managing Director of Goodwood Racecourse, said:
“We are delighted that the RSA Thoroughbred Stakes is to be upgraded. The quality of the racing is one of our highest priorities throughout the season, but especially during Glorious, and this will further strengthen Friday’s card. In 2011 all our Pattern races performed well, and I would be hopeful that we can step up again in 2012.”
Also over the mile trip but this time for fillies only, the Atalanta Stakes to be run at Sandown Park on 1st September has also benefitted from the upgrade in status. Previous high class fillies have competed at Sandown before going on to win races such as the Dahlia Stakes, Sun Chariot Stakes, Windsor Forest Stakes and the Group 1 Juddmonte International.
Andrew Cooper, Director of Racing and Clerk of the Course at Sandown Park, said:
“We are thrilled at the upgrading of the Atalanta, which further enhances the quality of racing on offer at our late summer Saturday fixture where we already run the Group 3 Solario Stakes”
As a part of the resulting reshuffle of the Pattern, the Henry II Stakes at Sandown has been downgraded from Group 2 to Group 3, and the Select Stakes which was previously run at Goodwood in September has been discontinued.