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QIPCO British Champions Day and Dubai Future Champions Day align in 2014

5 Mar 2013

A sensational £4.5m "Champions Weekend" is in prospect for 2014 with no less than six Group 1 races taking place in a little over 24 hours, split between Newmarket and Ascot and all shown live on Channel 4.

Newmarket’s Rowley Mile racecourse will link with Ascot to present a scintillating "Champions Weekend" next year. Image copyright of racingfotos.com.

The climax to the British Flat racing season will take another big leap forward next year with the alignment of QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot and Dubai Future Champions Day at Newmarket’s Rowley Mile to create a £4.5m “Champions Weekend”, featuring six Group 1 races on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 October 2014.

This will present a fantastic shop window for the top level of British Flat racing, generating a whole raft of benefits for British racing as a whole and Newmarket Racecourses, Dubai Future Champions Day and QIPCO British Champions Day in particular.

The new “Champions Weekend”, with both days shown live on Channel 4, will include the world’s highest-rated race from last year, the QIPCO Champion Stakes on QIPCO British Champions Day, and the world’s highest-rated two-year-old race, the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes, the centrepiece of Dubai Future Champions Day.

Six Group 1 contests, three on each day, will put British racing firmly in the international spotlight.

The Group 1 Fillies’ Mile switches places with the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes to join the Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes and the Group 1 Vision.ae Middle Park Stakes on Dubai Future Champions Day at Newmarket.

On QIPCO British Champions Day, the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes has been upgraded to Group 1 status (with immediate effect) and has doubled in value to £500,000 to sit alongside the Group 1 QIPCO Champion Stakes and the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Sponsored by QIPCO.

Newmarket will gain a high profile raceday by retaining its fixture on the preceding Saturday (11 October in 2014), where the Betfred Cesarewitch will be the highlight of a £450,000+ card.

This will see a significant prize money increase at Newmarket and with the Group 3 Cornwallis Stakes being transferred to Newmarket from Ascot, further strengthening the autumn two-year-old programme at the Home of Racing, and with the Abernant Stakes in April being upgraded to Group 3 status, Newmarket will now stage the highest number of Group races in Britain.

Reverting to a gap of nearly two weeks between the two-year-old races at Longchamp’s Arc weekend and Dubai Future Champions Day and moving races like the Fillies’ Mile will help to rectify a number of issues that have manifested themselves with Britain’s two-year-old autumn programme.

These changes satisfy European Pattern Committee (EPC) requirements, therefore facilitating the upgrading of the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes to Group 1 status this year and making the upgrading of the Group 2 QIPCO British Champions Sprint, which increases in value from £250,000 to £350,000 this year, and the £200,000 Long Distance Cup (Group 3) distinct possibilities in the future.

 Rod Street, Chief Executive of British Champions Limited, said: “One of the main underlying reasons for creating British Champions Day was to maintain and protect Britain’s status as a world-leading Flat racing nation and the upgrade to the QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes and the injection of another £350,00 in prize money to the day this October represent fantastic progress in only year three.

“We aspire to make ours the best Flat raceday in the world and the alignment with Dubai Future Champions Day in 2014 presents the perfect opportunity to build something even bigger than that.

“We are grateful for the efforts of BHA and others in securing this outcome, and very much look forward to working with Newmarket, Ascot and the other British Champions Series courses and shareholders to co-promote a sensational “Champions Weekend” next year.”