Goodwood Cup now a Group One

The Qatar Goodwood Cup has been upgraded to Group One status, the European Pattern Committee said in a statement.

Big Orange winning his second Goodwood Cup last year

Won in previous years by great stayers like Double Trigger, Persian Punch and Yeats, the two-mile test on August 1 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".

EPC chairman Brian Kavanagh 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.

"We also agreed that the overall stayers' programme needs to cement together well, with various other more minor gaps and enhancements which we've looked to address."

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.

"The European programme needs to be ambitious enough to capture people's attention and start to change behaviour, by making the breeding and buying of stayers a more attractive option.

"Our aim was to embrace a small number of meaningful enhancements to the Pattern for 2017, with scope for further developments in the years to come."

Other changes revealed by the EPC include the upgrading of the Loughbrown Stakes at the Curragh in September and the Eyrefield Stakes at Leopardstown to Group Three class.

The EPC also unveiled a three-year-old-only Listed race over a mile and five furlongs at Navan in May.

Read More at Sporting Life

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