Next year, the weekend will take place on a Friday and Saturday, it’s official. Or at least one of them will. The Future Champions Day at Newmarket is to move in the calendar to the day before Ascot’s QIPCO British Champions Day and so make a “champions weekend.”
Between them, the two courses will stage six Group 1 races amongst races worth over £4.5 million in prize money within the space of 24 hours. Newmarket will host three top class races for two year olds; the Dewhurst, the Fillies’ Mile and the Middle Park Stakes, alongside the Challenge Stakes, the Cornwallis Stakes, which it imports from Ascot, and the Darley Stakes.
Announcing the changes on the Newmarket website, managing director Amy Starkey said, "British racing and Jockey Club Racecourses have decided to move Dubai Future Champions Day to a Friday in 2014 in order to create a 'Champions Weekend' alongside QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot Racecourse.
This is good news for Newmarket Racecourses. Becoming part of the 'Champions Weekend' means that Dubai Future Champions Day, including the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes whose home is at Newmarket, will increase its status as Europe's two-year-old championship day by featuring three Group One races for the first time in 2014 as part of a superb two-day climax to the Flat racing season.
Overall, Newmarket Racecourses has made this move in the best interests of British racing, working with multiple interested parties and listening to feedback from trainers who asked the racecourses to help resolve the outstanding issues with the two-year-old Pattern."
Welcoming the news, Rod Street, chief executive of British Champions Limited, which organises the Ascot Champions Day outlined enhancements to that day’s programme, including an upgrade of the Fillies’ and Mares’ Stakes to Group 1 status. He 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' And 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."
What a couple of days to look forward to.