Monday, June 17, 2024

European Pattern Committee announces changes to the 2018 European Programme of Black Type Races

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The European Pattern Committee, at its annual meeting on Wednesday 17 January held in Ireland this year, considered a number of changes to Flat Pattern and Listed races in Europe for 2018.


The European Pattern Committee remains strongly committed towards the important strategic objective of enhancing the attractiveness of breeding, buying, owning and racing quality horses which have an aptitude for stamina.

A number of enhancements to the stayers’ programme were announced for 2017, headlined by the upgrade of the Goodwood Cup to Group 1 and the Queen’s Vase to Group 2. Further beneficial changes have now been agreed by the Committee for 2018, with the focus on providing a more extensive and coherent programme of Black Type races for staying fillies and mares. This has been achieved through the promotion of the Lillie Langtry at Goodwood to Group 2 and the creation of three new Group 3’s (one each in Britain, France and Ireland) and three new Listed races restricted to mares over staying distances. There are also further improvements to the programme for three-year-olds.

Brian Kavanagh, Chairman of the European Pattern Committee, commented:

“Europe can justifiably claim to be pre-eminent within the global racing community in terms of the quality of the stayers that we breed and race and we are taking active measures to ensure that this position is maintained and strengthened. There is an ongoing, multi-year project to improve Black Type staying race opportunities and it is expected that further changes to the stayers’ programme will be introduced in 2019, to continue the progression of this important project for the future of the staying horse.”

The enhancements to the staying race programme agreed for 2018 are listed below:


New Group 3 (Bronte Cup) 4yo+ fillies’ race over 14 furlongs at York on May 26th
Listed Grand Cup (14f, 4yo+ York) moved from May 26th to June 16th
Listed Silver Cup (14f 3+ – 14 July York) – upgraded to Group 3 and convert to 4yo+
Group 3 Lillie Langtry (14f 3+ fillies – 2 Aug Goodwood) – upgraded to Group 2
Listed March Stakes (14f 3yo – 25 Aug Goodwood) – upgraded to Group 3


New Listed race for fillies, Prix Gold River (4yo+ 2,800m), at Longchamp on 3rd May
Listed Prix Michel Houyvet (Deauville, 3,000m 3yo, mid-August) – distance reduced to 2800m
Listed Prix Belle de Nuit (St Cloud, 2500m 3+ fillies, 27 October) – upgraded to Group 3 and distance increased to 2800m


New Listed 4yo+ fillies’ race over 14 furlongs at Gowran Park on May 9th
Listed Stanerra (3yo+ fillies, 20 July) – moved to 12 July and upgraded to Group 3
New Listed 3yo only race over 14 furlongs at Leopardstown on 26 July
Listed Her Majesty’s Plate at Down Royal (14f, 27 July) – converted from 3yo+ to 4yo+


New Listed 4yo+ race over 3000m at Cologne on German Guineas weekend (6 May)

2.         UPGRADES

The Committee approved upgrades for 13 Pattern races and the creation of 9 new Listed races in 2018, including the promotion of the Flying Five at The Curragh on Longines Irish Champions Weekend to Group 1, providing Ireland with a first ever Group 1 sprinting opportunity for older horses. Additionally, four races were promoted to Group 2, namely the Huxley (Chester), Lillie Langtry (Goodwood), Golden Fleece (Leopardstown) and Prix du Calvados (Deauville).

The full list, including the staying races changes outlined above, is provided below:

Upgraded from Group 2 to Group 1
16/09/18       Flying Five                                 Curragh                       3yo+                  5f

Upgraded from Group 3 to Group 2
11/05/18       Huxley                                       Chester                       4yo+                  10f
02/08/18       Lillie Langtry                              Goodwood                  3yo+ f                14f
18/08/18       Calvados                                    Deauville                     2yo f                  1400m
15/09/18       Golden Fleece                           Leopardstown             2yo                    8f

Upgraded from Listed to Group 3
14/07/18       Silver Cup                                  York                            4yo+ (from 3+)  14f
29/06/18       Hoppings                                   Newcastle                   3yo+ f                10f
12/07/18       Stanerra                                    Leopardstown             3yo+ f                14f
28/07/18       Six Perfections                          Deauville                     2yo f                  1400m
25/08/18       March                                        Goodwood                  3yo                    14f
19/10/18       Mercury                                     Dundalk                       2yo+                  5f
27/10/18    Belle de Nuit                              Saint-Cloud                 3yo+ f                2800m

New Group 3 Race
26/05/18       Brontë Cup                                York                            4yo+ f                14f

New Listed Races
TBC              Spring Mile (dirt)                        Jagersro, Sweden       4yo+                  1600m
25/04/18       Investec Derby Trial                  Epsom Downs               3yo                  10f
06/05/18       TBC                                           Cologne                         4yo+                3000m
07/05/18       As yet unnamed                         Naas                            3yo f                  5½ f
08/05/18       As yet unnamed                         Gowran Park               4yo+ f                14f
21/06/18        TBC                                        Chelmsford City, Britain  4yo+ f              7f
08/07/18       Kistena                                      Deauville, France          3yo                  1200m
26/07/18       As yet unnamed                         Leopardstown             3yo                    14f
04/08/18       Criterium Varesino                     Varese                         2yo                    1500m
15/09/18       As yet unnamed                         Leopardstown             2yo f                  7f

3.         DOWNGRADES

Europe continues to set a high standard in terms of quality control of its Pattern and Listed races and its Ground Rules unarguably represent a high watermark for the rest of the world. In accordance with these Ground Rules, races that underperform consistently are identified as at risk of downgrade, after which the host racecourse is put on notice that if the race fails to achieve the required performance rating, it could be downgraded the following year.

Two Pattern races and five Listed races were downgraded by the European Pattern Committee following their 2017 renewals. Additionally, the Committee has introduced a new Ground Rule that no handicaps can offer Black Type which saw Listed status removed from two races. Overall, the net position saw 6 Pattern races added to the European programme in 2018 and 2 Listed races.  The downgraded races were:

Downgraded from Group 3
19/08/17       Curragh                                     Curragh                       2yo                    5f
12/10/17       Andre Baboin                             Bordeaux                    3yo+                  1900m

Downgraded from Listed
08/07/17       Derby de l’Ouest                       Nantes                        3yo                    2400m
08/12/17       Crit. Dell’Immacolata                  Siracusa                       2yo                    1400m
11/11/17       Giovanni Falck                           Milan                           3yo+ f                2400m
02/07/17       Gran Premio de Madrid             Madrid, Spain              3yo+                  2500m
24/09/17       Grand Prix Jockey Club             Dielsdorf, Switzerland 3yo+                  2470m

Removal of Listed status
18/05/17       Hambleton Handicap                  York                            4yo+                  8f
21/06/17       Sandringham Handicap              Royal Ascot                  3yo f                  8f

As a consequence of the on-going monitoring of their quality, 24 races comprising 12 Pattern races (two Group 1s, seven Group 2s and three Group 3s) and 12 Listed races have been identified as being at risk of downgrade in 2019.  A list of Group 1 (indicated) and Group 2 races which are at risk of downgrading can be found below:

08/05/17          Saint-Cloud      GREFFULHE                           3yoc&f             2000m
04/06/17          Chantilly           GROS-CHENE                         3yo+                1000m
18/06/17          Chantilly           HOCQUART                            3yoc&f             2400m

02/07/17          Hamburg          DEUTSCHES DERBY (Grp 1)  3yoc&f             2400m
27/08/17          Baden-Baden   GOLDENE PIETSCH               3yo+                1200m

14/05/17          Rome               PRESIDENTE DELLA              4yo+                1800m
22/10/17          Milan                GRAN CRITERIUM                  2yoc&f             1500m
29/10/17          Rome               LYDIA TESIO (Grp 1)              3yo+f&m          2000m

4.         OTHER ISSUES

Three-Year-Old Sprint Programme

In 2015 the European Pattern Committee announced details of a number of major enhancements to the European sprint programme, specifically with the creation of a programme of opportunities for high-class three-year-old sprinters in the early part of the season, culminating in the newly-created Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot. With 2017 having been the third year since implementing the changes, the Committee undertook a full review of the programme and was very pleased with the level of success the three-year-old sprint races had attained, along with the positive impact of the Commonwealth Cup in a short space of time on how certain horses were being campaigned.

Italian Racing

The European Pattern Committee remains very concerned about the ongoing situation, and for the future of the horseracing and breeding industries in Italy. The number of overseas runners in Italy continues to fall and the quality of their Black Type races also, with Italy’s sole remaining Group 1 race, the Lydia Tesio, being put on the ‘at risk’ list for 2019. Further requirements have been placed on Italy by the Committee and progress will be monitored closely over the next twelve months.

Redevelopment of Longchamp Racecourse

The European Pattern Committee is looking forward to the re-opening of Longchamp racecourse in 2018 following its extensive redevelopment, with its programme of Pattern and Listed races returning there from their temporary hosting racecourses.

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