07/26/2012 9:15AM

England: Afsare goes for first group win in York Stakes


Afsare, a winner at the 2010 Royal Ascot meeting, can win his second consecutive stakes – and first at the group level – in Saturday’s Group 2 York Stakes at York Racecourse in northern England.

Trained by Luca Cumani, Afsare has been in excellent form. A 5-year-old gelding by Dubawi, Afsare was second in the Group 1 Premio Presidente della Rebubblica in Italy in May and won the Gala Stakes at Sandown Park in England as the favorite on July 6. Both races were over 1 1/4 miles on turf.

The York Stakes, which drew a field of 11, is run over about 1 5/16 miles.

The field also includes Planteur, who is winless in six Group 1 races since a win in the Group 1 Prix Ganay in Paris in April 2011. Planteur was seventh in the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot last month.

◗ The Qatar Investment and Projects Development Holding Company, a private investment company operated by six brothers of the Qatari royal family, have extended partnership agreements for major stakes at Ascot, Goodwood and Newmarket racecourses through 2017, it was announced earlier this week.

QIPCO began sponsoring major stakes such as the English 1000 and 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and Champions Day at Ascot in 2011. Purses for stakes on Champions Day will be approximately $4.65 million this year, rising to $6.2 million in future years.

Champions Day will be held on Oct. 20 this year, and could draw runners from the Breeders’ Cup, which will be run at Santa Anita on Nov. 2-3. Last year, there were three weeks between the events.