03/05/2013 3:57PM

British schedule 'Champions Weekend' for 2014

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The schedule of late-season major stakes in England has been revamped for the autumn of 2014 to create consecutive days with a total of six Group 1 races at two venues, officials announced on Tuesday.

For 2014, three Group 1 stakes for 2-year-olds – the Fillies’ Mile, Middle Park Stakes over six furlongs, and Dewhurst Stakes over seven furlongs – will be run at Newmarket on Friday, Oct. 17. The following day, the British Champions Day program will be run at Ascot, featuring three Group 1 races – the Champion Stakes over 1 1/4 miles, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over a mile, and British Champions Day Fillies and Mares Stakes over 1 1/2 miles.

The two days are being packaged as a “Champions Weekend,” with approximately $6.8 million in purses.

Last year, the Middle Park, Dewhurst, and Rockfel stakes were run at Newmarket on Saturday, Oct. 13, seven days before the British Champions Day at Ascot. For 2014, the Fillies’ Mile replaces the Rockfel on that program, which is being called “Future Champions Day.”

The new schedule will give British racing a major two-day festival of racing that will compete to some extent for leading horses with the major stakes on the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe weekend in Paris in early October, and the Breeders’ Cup in this country in early November.

Of a more immediate effect, the British Champions Day Fillies and Mares Stakes has been upgraded from a Group 2 to a Group 1 for 2013, and will be worth approximately $760,000. The race was worth $421,000 last year.

The purse of the Group 2 British Champions Sprint over six furlongs has been increased by $150,000 to $560,000 this year. The British Champions Day program will be held this year on Oct. 19, two weeks before the Breeders’ Cup is run on Nov. 1-2 at Santa Anita.

◗ The European Pattern Committee announced on Tuesday changes to the list of group and listed races in Europe for 2013.

Aside from the promotion of the British Champions Day Fillies and Mares Stakes to a Group 1, two races have been downgraded from Group 2 to Group 3 – the Europa Meile at Munich, Germany, and the Royal Whip Stakes at The Curragh.

One race was promoted from a Group 3 to a Group 2 – the Kilboy Estate Stakes for fillies and mares over 1 1/8 miles on turf at The Curragh.

BrandonLayer More than 1 year ago
To me having these races October 17 & 18 is bad timing. Horses will probably have to skip the Arc if they want to run on Champions Day. That's not good. Also horses who run on Champions Day will probably not come for the Breeders Cup. That's not good either. I still think the 'Big Dogs" of Europe will still opt for the Arc and it's tradition and purse. Trying to compete with the Arc is probably not a good idea.
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
Yes, very interesting. The Arc is still the most prestigious classic 12 furlongs race in europe and one of the world's most prestigious race. Also, it has a large purse. Doubtful the great classic horses will skip it for the Champions Stakes? Orfevre which Imo the best classic thoroughbred running today and last year is targeting that race this year,
nicola c More than 1 year ago
i love champions day and as someone said below was right a lot have issue with the drug use and breeders cup backing down with this years lasix ban wont help especially after saying its a world championship we want to get in line with the world. also another thing that doesn't help the breeders cup is arc weekend on close to the breeders cup too.well im all for it the more big days around Europe the better. the breeders cup is out of touch with the rest of the world.
Gunner More than 1 year ago
Sounds like a great day of racing for the Euros. For far too long the thoroughbred industry in America has taken the Henry Ford view. (as a refresher Henry Ford was famous for saying: "Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black". We get the status quo, and as long as you like Churchill Downs or Santa Anita the Breeders Cup is perfect. I like the idea of New York having a Big Day in direct competition (maybe in October for you weather fans). That might not be bad either.
mike mccormck More than 1 year ago
We need to get the race day meds stuff sorted out. That's a MAJOR issue with the Euros. I know some will say "let them stay in Europe," but that's not fair to the fans who want to see horses like Goldikova on this side of the pond. I think you guys could well be right about going back to ine day. That is a real shame.
Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
keep the Lasix breeders cup soon you will be able to change the name to American breeders cup sponsored by Lasix,clenbuterol,equipoise...or the bleeders cup since apparently every horse in the dam thing including the 2yous are bleeders.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Gotta agree with Al... My prediction might read that Breeders' Cup goes back to one day by 2015 and who says that'sa bad thing.
Al More than 1 year ago
European participation in the Breeders' Cup, already on the decline, will drop at an even sharper level now. May not be long before more BC races are dropped.