Back to articles

Hopes high that two of yesterday’s races may be upgraded next year

16 Oct 2011

Three of the five championship races on QIPCO British Champions Day yesterday afternoon did not have top level, Group 1 status, but an application will be made next month for an upgrade to at least two of them.

Frankel in splendid isolation once again in front of the packed Ascot grandstand at the end of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO.  Image courtesy of

British Champions Series will be applying to upgrade the Group 2 QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes, won in fine style yesterday by dual Oaks heroine Dancing Rain, to Group 1 status next month.

Having surpassed the required average rating of 110 for a fillies’ and mares’ race for three consecutive years, the previous two when it was run as the Pride Stakes at Newmarket, the mile-and-a-half contest now meets the criteria to be considered by the European Pattern Committee for elevation to the top level.

An application is also likely to be made to upgrade the Group 2 QIPCO British Champions Sprint, won by the brilliant Deacon Blues, to Group 1 status as well.

The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO, in which Frankel confirmed his standing as the world’s best racehorse by coming home four lengths clear of his nearest rival, and the QIPCO Champion Stakes which followed it, both have Group 1 status already.

“Yesterday exceeded our wildest expectations for the inaugural QIPCO British Champions Day with such high class fields, absolute top class winners and a record autumn Flat crowd for the modern era,” said British Champions Series Chief Executive, Rod Street.

“There is a great deal for us to review over the coming weeks, but one obvious thing we would like to improve is the official status of the two Group 2 races and one Group 3 on the card.

“Clearly we would like to have five Group 1s and after yesterday I don’t think anyone could say that the day does not merit that.

“Whilst it may be difficult to achieve, yesterday’s ratings will have ensured that we made some great strides towards our goal and, as well as applying to upgrade the Fillies and Mares, we also hope that the Sprint might qualify for fast-track elevation given that it does not conflict with the five furlong Prix de l’Abbaye on Arc weekend.

“Different horses tend to run over five and six furlongs and there is considerable logic in having a late season Group 1 sprint over six furlongs as well as five.

“The Group 3 QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup is much more difficult given the presence of the Group 1 Prix Royal Oak at Longchamp next weekend, but we would be delighted if it could achieve Group 2 status in the near future.

“Having had what are arguably the top two stayers in the world finish first and second yesterday, the same one-two from the Group 1 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, we will have comfortably achieved the requisite rating for the race this year.”

“We are very grateful to the European Pattern Committee to have supported the vision that made yesterday possible and we look forward to working with them to strengthen further the overall autumn European Pattern.”