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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Goodwood Cup promoted to Group 1 and prize fund increased

Big Orange winning the 2016 Goodwood Cup
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Goodwood's Qatar-backed Glorious meeting will host not just an additional Group 1 this summer but a revised programme of races.

The now-Group 1 Goodwood Cup will be the opening-day feature on the Tuesday, moving forward from the Thursday, which is the new home for the Nassau, previously run on the Saturday.

With the Sussex Stakes on the Wednesday, the first three days of the meeting will feature a Group 1. The Gordon Stakes will switch to the Saturday, where it will support the Stewards' Cup.

The Goodwood Cup, the prize-money boost for which - to £500,000 from £300,000 - is the most vivid example of the European Pattern Committee's desire to increase purses for Group 1 staying contests where possible - will plug a Group 1 gap in the summer for stayers, with no top-level races being run over two miles or further between the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June and Prix du Cadran in October.

EPC chairman Brian Kavanagh said: “The EPC has agreed that it remains vital, now more than ever, that Europe supports a strong programme for horses racing over extended distances.

"No other part of the world provides a meaningful programme of races for such horses, and some appear to have almost given up altogether.  

“Whilst the programme for stayers features some important races, it does not offer a Group 1 over a distance in excess of 14 and a half furlongs between Royal Ascot and the Arc meeting.

"We agreed it would seem sensible to have a European Group 1 over two miles in the summer, and the historic Goodwood Cup is well positioned in the year, and was felt to be the obvious candidate.”

Goodwood general manager Alex Eade said: “Elevating the Goodwood Cup to Group 1 status is something we've been very keen to happen for a number of years and we're very grateful to the BHA and European Pattern Committee for supporting and approving our proposal.

"Alongside other changes made to the Pattern, we hope our race will cement its position as part of a high-profile programme for stayers across Europe.

“There will be some other changes to the programme during the Qatar Goodwood festival, which have also been approved by the BHA and EPC, and will bring a better balance to the week.”

No other part of the world provides a meaningful programme of races for such horses and some appear to have almost given up altogether

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