Leopardstown will host the first day of Irish Champions WeekendPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
HRI announce 2014 Irish Champions Weekend
FROM 2014 Ireland will have an end-of-season weekend of racing to contend with British Champions Weekend, Arc weekend and the Breeders' Cup, with Horse Racing Ireland announcing an Irish Champions Weekend to be run in September.
The two days, which will take place at Leopardstown on September 13 and at the Curragh on September 14, will contain at least ten Group races and up to five Group 1 contests as Ireland bid to compete internationally.
"I am pleased we have been able to create the inaugural Irish Champions Weekend in September 2014," said Brian Kavanagh, chief executive of HRI.
"It is planned that Irish Champions Weekend will host at least ten Group races, including up to five Group 1 contests, along with several valuable Premier Handicaps.
"These two meetings will be promoted and marketed jointly, with the ambition of attracting a major international audience to Ireland.
"Irish Champions Weekend also opens up the opportunity for a new, exciting tri-nation series of autumn championships linking the top three racing nations of Europe, starting with Ireland's weekend, followed by the Arc weekend in France and culminating with the British Champions weekend of racing in October."
The close of the Flat season has also been moved forward to avoid a direct clash with the Breeders' Cup, concluding with a high-class two day meeting at Leopardstown finishing on October 26, while four additional all-weather meetings have been added at Dundalk through the winter.
Other notable amendments to the fixture list include reducing the Fairyhouse easter festival to two days, with the third day - featuring five Pattern races - moved two weeks earlier to avoid a clash with Punchestown.
The total number of fixtures remains at 349 for the third consecutive year.