Flying Five to become Ireland's first Group 1 5f event for older horse
Ireland will this year stage its first Group 1 race for older horses over five furlongs following the approval of the European Pattern Committee for the upgrading of the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes which is run at the Curragh on Longines Irish Champions weekend in September.
Prize-money for the event, which numbers Sole Power and Caravaggio amongst its recent winners, is being increased from Euro 300,000 to Euro 350,000 and the race will be one of four Group 1 races over the trip in Europe.
Horse Racing Ireland's director of racing, Jason Morris, said yesterday: "We are delighted to have secured an upgrade for the Flying Five as it has been a long-held ambition of HRI to create a first Group 1 sprint opportunity for older horses in Ireland.
"We have strategically increased prizemoney for the race over the past few years with a view to improving its quality. This policy has now reaped dividends and we will now have a true championship sprint event in which to showcase the top Irish and international sprinters.”
Other enhancements to the programme for Irish Champions Weekend include the promotion of the Willis Tower Watson Champions Juvenile Turf (registered as the Golden Fleece) at Leopardstown from Group 3 to 2 status and the conversion of the Leopardstown 2yo fillies’ maiden into a 2yo winners Listed race for fillies (with restrictive conditions to distinguish it from the Moyglare Stud Stakes).
The Stanerra Stakes, to be run over 1m6f at Leopardstown on July 12 will be upgraded to Group 3 as part of an on-going European project to improve the programme of black type staying races for fillies amd mares there will be a new Listed race for 4yo & up fillies & mares over 1m6f at Gowran Park on May 9. A new 3yo only Listed race over 1m6f will be run at Leopardstown on July 26.
A five and a half furlong sprint for 3yo only fillies will be run on May 7 at Naas, the first such race (Listed sprint restricted to 3yo fillies) to be run in Europe.
Other changes approved by the European Pattern Committee for 2018 include the distance of the 2,000 Guineas Trial (Listed) at Leopardstown on April 14 being reduced from 1m to 7f: the Listed Patton Stakes at Dundalk being moved from April to March 2 and increased in distance from 7f to 1m.