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All eyes on Australian Pattern Committee meeting

July 22, 2011

The attention of the racing world will be focused on the conclusions of the Australian Pattern Committee this afternoon.

The Committee has begun its annual meeting, where it determines Group races for the upcoming season.

It looks as though the WA Derby, which has been below par for years, will be downgraded from Group 1 to Group 2.

However, Racing Victoria’s Operations Manager Paul Bloodworth also touted the possibility last night that the South Australian Derby may be downgraded from Group 1 to Group 2, thereby removing two more staying races from elite status.

The SA Derby is unlikely to be downgraded this year but even if it survives one more year, it would need to produce a couple of outstanding three year olds next year to maintain its status.

While it is understandable that these two races lose their standing, given their recent record for producing substandard winners, is it fair that two staying Group 1 races will likely be replaced by sprints?

Perth Racing is attempting to have the WA Derby replaced by the Winterbottom Stakes.

In all honesty, that’s pretty boring.

Yes, Apache Cat vs Takeover Target in 2008 was a great race, and Black Caviar will be an incredible spectacle if she runs this year.

But last year’s winner was Hadabeclorka – hardly the profile of a Group 1 winner. Don’t think runner up King Kool Kat would be deserving of the title either.

Bloodworth said that, from a Victorian perspective, it would be likely that the Moir Stakes (1200m weight for age race on Cox Plate day) or the Kewney Stakes (1400m three year old fillies race on Newmarket Handicap day) would most likely be upgraded to Group 1 level if there was a vacancy.

Whoop-de-do.

Shouldn’t we be looking for something we don’t have already, or shouldn’t we be looking to maintain variety?

Radio Sport National’s Shane Anderson has been advocating a two year old fillies or a three year old fillies sprint to become Group 1 races.

I agree with the need for variety but I would like to see a staying race replaced with a staying race.

For example, make the Sandown Classic a Group 1.

Yes, it is true that the quality has probably been below Group 1 standard in recent times (not taking anything away from four time winner Zipping).

But it has been a better race than the WA and SA Derbies and it would definitely deserve G1 status.

It is a travesty that we have only one Group 1 2400m race at weight for age, that being The BMW.

It is likely that the outcome today will be that the WA Derby will be substituted for the Winterbottom, thereby inflicting another stab wound to our ever dwindling stock of stayers.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 22, 2011 12:31 pm

    Agree with the need to promote staying races, However races should never be “upgraded” just for the sake of it.

    We need 2 or 3 3200m WFA races but they would need to earn their group status.

  2. July 22, 2011 12:40 pm

    Also we should not be soo dismissive of GROUP 2 status. Race clubs should be proud to have group 2 status for their races.

    GROUP 2 should not mean the death knell of a race.

    It seems whenever a race is downgraded to group 2 status in Australia race clubs loose all enthusiasm for that race and it quickly dies off.

    Group 2 is HIGH CLASS and should not be so disrespected.

    If we are more honest with our racing ratings very few races are deserving of group 1 status.

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