Qatar Goodwood Cup elevated to Group 1 status
1 Feb 2017
Showpiece staying event will also carry prize money of £500,000 - an increase of £200,000
Big Orange pictured after his second Goodwood Cup victory last year. Picture: Racingfotos.com
The Qatar Goodwood Cup, one of the showpiece staying races of the QIPCO British Champions Series, has been upgraded to a Group One race.
The European Pattern Committee announced the new status of the two-mile feature in a statement on Wednesday afternoon. This year’s renewal, run in early August, will also be worth £500,000 – an increase of £200,000.
Big Orange has won the past two renewals and previous runnings have been landed by great stayers such as Double Trigger, Persian Punch and Yeats.
It was viewed upon by the EPC as “an obvious candidate” to become a top-level race.
The Goodwood Cup’s elevation is part of a host of changes issued by the EPC to help “safeguard the future of the staying horse in Europe”.
Brian Kavanagh, chairman of the EPC, 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.
“We agreed that it would seem sensible to have a European Group One 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.”
The EPC also announced the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot will be upgraded from Listed to Group Two class, with its distance altered from two miles to a mile and three-quarters.
Kavanagh added: “The reduction in trip for the Queen’s Vase should help to make it more of a target for a greater number of quality young horses.”
Jamie Spencer squeezes plenty out of super stayer BIG ORANGE. First dual winner of the Goodwood Cup since Yeats. https://t.co/SBMnVgOrmj
— Champions Series (@ChampionsSeries) July 28, 2016