Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
JJ The Jet Plane, No 11, was the winner of the Al Quoz Sprint, a Group 2 competition, at Meydan Racecourse in March this year.
JJ The Jet Plane, No 11, was the winner of the Al Quoz Sprint, a Group 2 competition, at Meydan Racecourse in March this year.

Call for Al Quoz sprint to get an upgradation

Nick Smith, the head of international horse racing, feels the current Dubai World Cup Group 2 race at Meydan Racecourse is bound to get rating higher than 115 for a step-up.

ASCOT, ENGLAND // Nick Smith, the head of international racing at Ascot, believes that the Al Quoz sprint should be upgraded to Group 1 status for next season.

The Al Quoz sprint was won last season by JJ The Jet Plane and is one of three thoroughbred races on the Dubai World Cup card at Meydan Racecourse to be rated as a Group 2.

The others are the Godolphin Mile and the UAE Derby.

A Group 1 race is required to have a rating of 115, a figure reached by averaging out the first four finishers by the Pattern Committee in each racing jurisdiction.

There are eight Group 2s throughout the Dubai International Racing Carnival, but as yet no Group 1 race is staged in the UAE outside Dubai World Cup night.

This is despite the fact that Twice Over's victory in Round Three of the Al Maktoum Challenge and Bold Silvano's success in Round Two both made the top 50 in the world rankings, released last month.

"You have to get the ratings of the race up so the horses that compete have to be proven and averaged out," Smith said.

"The rating of the first four in any race, averaged out, gives the race a rating. If the race rating over a three-year period goes over a certain parameter you are eligible for an upgrade."

Smith certainly knows how it is done. Ascot celebrates its tercentenary this year and among the many ways of commemorating the landmark event is that the racecourse has upgraded the Hampton Court Stakes to become the 18th Group race at the Royal Meeting.

Ascot has adopted a special commemorative logo, unveiled a new rose named after Queen Anne, the founder of the racecourse, but it is the upgrading of the 2,000m contest for three year olds from a Listed race to a Group 3 that catches the eye.

The upgrade follows that of the King's Stand Stakes, the first of the three British legs of the Global Sprint Challenge and one of the feature races of the meeting.

The King's Stand was installed as a Group 1 event in 2008 and is the second race on today's card.

The Queen Anne Stakes, which opens the meeting, was also accorded Group 1 status in 2003, a year after the Golden Jubilee Stakes, the second British leg of the Global Sprint challenge.

In the past 10 years the royal racecourse has also upgraded the Queen Mary and the Norfolk Stakes to Group 2s in 2004 and 2006 respectively, while the Albany was moved up to Group 3 status in 2005.

Lastly, the Prince Of Wales's Stakes, which Godolphin have won twice in the past decade, was made a Group 1 in 2000.

Ascot now has seven Group 1 races during the five-day meeting, and are hoping to get the Hardwicke Stakes, run on Saturday, made into a Group 1 also.

"The ratings of the Hardwicke are way over Group 1 parameter," Smith said.

"There are complications with that, however, as the race technically clashes with the Coronation Cup at Epsom and the Grand Prix St Cloud in France."

Since the inaugural Dubai Carnival in 2004, the standards have increased dramatically.

More than a third of all races at the Carnival last season were Listed class or higher, meaning that to enter those races a horse needs to have a rating of around 100. There were seven races upgraded for last season's Carnival, and Smith envisages there will be a lot more for next season.

"They should have a fair few upgraded this year," he said. "The Al Quoz sprint would be the most logical and most important one.

"It will need a fast track, but Meydan's races do not clash much with the likes of Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan. Meydan will try to get as many as they can possibly can."



Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 Glenn Maxwell's knock that followed ensured Brendon McCullum's knock went in vain after his explosive half-century took Chennai Super Kings past the 200-mark. Ravindranath K / The National

All is well with Punjab as Maxwell and Miller seal win against Chennai

The Australian missed out on a century but his 95 runs, along with Miller's unbeaten half-century, ensured Kings XI scaled a mighty peak of a target in a hot first game of Abu Dhabi's double-header.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet protests during the Premier League match against Crystal Palace at The Stadium of Light in Sunderland, northeast England, on March 15, 2014. Ian MacNicol / AFP

Sunderland going out of Premier League with a grumble

Northeast club have underwhelmed during seven-year stay in the top flight

 Hamburg players leave the field after the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on March 30, 2014. AFP

Hamburg the dinosaur’s time may be up in Bundesliga

Ever-present for 51 years in the German top-flight, Hamburg face the prospect of relegation, writes Ian Hawkey.

 At 105 kg, Gabrielle Garcia has dominated the world circuit and loves many things about being in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Garcia seeks fresh challenge in MMA after her jiu-jitsu domination

Brazilian prides being a lioness in the sport but feels she can shed 25kg weight to pursue her MMA debut aspirations.

 England's Jonathan Trott hits out during the ICC Champions Trophy semi final match against South Africa at The Oval cricket ground, London June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Philip Brown

England’s Jonathan Trott sidelined with stress-related illness again

Jonathan Trott is to take a second break from professional cricket because of his stress-related illness as England and Wales Cricket Board and Warwickshire confirmed he will stop playing with immediate effect.

 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho looks on during the Premier League match between Swansea City and Chelsea at the Liberty Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Swansea, Wales. Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

‘That’s why we are a top club’ says Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech

Jose Mourinho’s men will temporarily claim the Premier League top spot if they beat Sunderland, leaving them in control of their own destiny in the title race ahead of a crucial trip to face Liverpool at Anfield on April 27.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National