x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Upgrade sought after British Champions Series success

Series aims to raise the class of three races at Ascot, after the British Champions Day exceeded 'wildest expectations'.

LONDON //The British Champions Series will apply to upgrade three of the races on Saturday's card at Ascot, including the Fillies and Mares Stakes won by Dancing Rain.

The other races in line to be upgraded by the European Pattern Committee (EPC) are the Group 2 British Champions Sprint, won by Deacon Blues, and the Group 3 Long Distance Cup, won by Fame And Glory from Godolphin's Opinion Poll.

"Qipco British Champions Day exceeded our wildest expectations with such high-class fields, top-class winners and a record autumn flat crowd for the modern era," Rod Street, the British Champions Series chief executive, said.

The fillies and mares race has surpassed the average rating of 110 for three consecutive years. It was previously run at Newmarket and will be considered by the EPC for elevation to the highest level.

"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," Street said yesterday. "Whilst it may be difficult to achieve, yesterday's ratings will have ensured that we made some great strides towards our goal."

Meydan Racecourse is in a similar position with their Dubai World Cup card on March 31 next year and their new Super Saturday fixture, which is staged three weeks beforehand.

The Dubai World Cup card recently received a significant boost with the upgrade of the Al Quoz sprint over 1,000m, which means the Godolphin Mile and UAE Derby are the only races on the eight-race card that are not run at the highest level.

The Jebel Hatta and Round Three of the Al Maktoum Challenge were also upgraded to Group 1 status.