Cityscape winning the Joel Stakes - it will be upgraded to Group 2 statusPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
BHA secures upgrades for three pattern races
THE JOEL STAKES, the 1m Newmarket pattern race which has been brought forward in the calendar this year to become part of the new British Champions' Series, has been promoted to Group 2 status.
The race, which will be run on September 23 following the transfer of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes to Champions Day in October, was one of three events for which the BHA was able to secure upgrades at last week's annual meeting of the European Pattern Committee.
Royal Ascot has gained an additional Group 3 race as a result of the upgrading of what was the Hampton Court Stakes which from this year will be known as the Tercentenary Stakes, to mark the 300th anniversary of the first race meeting at Ascot in 1711. The 7f Sceptre Stakes, run at Doncaster for fillies and mares as part of the St Leger Festival, is also to become a Group 3 race.
BHA director of racing: Ruith QuinnPICTURE: Edward Whitaker
The BHA's director of racing Ruth Quinn said: "All three races are fully deserving of the respective upgrades and are credible enhancements toBritain's pattern programme. The Joel is a race that consistently provides great strength in depth. As a Group 2 event on a revised date, it has been positioned to provide an opportunity for quality milers on the weekend where the QEII was previously sited. It will have an important role to play in the programme and I am sure it will live up to expectations.
"The Hampton Court, to be retitled the Tercentenary Stakes, has clearly been a strong addition to the Royal Ascot meeting since its inception in 2000. 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 beyond the age of three. Rewarding the fillies being placed in the Sceptre with Group 3 status can only assist this evolving process."