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Goodwood Cup upgraded to Group One status

The Goodwood Cup has been upgraded to Group One level as part of changes by the European Pattern Committee to bolster staying races in the northern hemisphere.

Won in previous years by great horses such as Double Trigger, Persian Punch and Yeats, the two-mile (3200m) test on August 1 was viewed by the EPC as an obvious candidate to become a top-level race.

The EPC said the race’s elevation was part of a host of changes to help “safeguard the future of the staying horse in Europe”.

“The EPC has agreed that it remains vital, now more than ever, that Europe supports a strong program for horses racing over extended distances,” an EPC statement said.

“No other part of the world provides a meaningful program 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’ program needs to cement together well, with various other more minor gaps and enhancements which we’ve looked to address.”

The Goodwood Cup has been used as a lead-up to the Melbourne Cup.

Big Orange, the winner of the past two Goodwood Cups, has also run at Flemington foe the past two years while another dual Goodwood winner, Persian Punch, was placed twice in Melbourne.

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.

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