Ascot officials have announced that a new Group 1 event for three-year-old sprinters has been added to the Royal Ascot Meeting and are hoping that the race eventually draws runners from Australia.
The new Group 1 race will be known as the Commonwealth Cup and will be run over 1207 metres on the Friday card during the Royal Ascot Meeting; with the race open to all three-year-old colts, fillies and geldings.
Ascot Chief Executive Charles Barnett was delighted to announce the new Group 1 race that will fill a key void during the Royal Ascot Meeting and he revealed that a number of leading trainers and owners had already expressed their interest in setting horses for the race.
“We are very excited about the Commonwealth Cup, which has already been talked of in positive terms by the connections of this year’s leading two-year-old filly Tiggy Wiggy and American-trained Hootenanny, who won the Windsor Castle Stakes at this year’s meeting and was subsequently successful at the recent Breeders’ Cup,” Barnett said in a statement.
Horses that are currently classified as three-year-olds in Australia, such as Coolmore Stud Stakes winner and Royal Ascot hopeful Brazen Beau, will be unable to contest the race due to being classified as Northern Hemisphere four-year-olds, but southern hemisphere two-year-olds will be eligible to contest the race.
A number of Australian sprinters have contested the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (1006m) and Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1207m) in the last decade and Barnett is hoping that the Commonwealth Cup will eventually draw the leading two-year-olds from Australia that were competitive in races like the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) and Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m).
“Longer term, we are looking to attract interest from connections of horses that have run in championship two-year-old races in Australia like the Blue Diamond and the Golden Slipper, as they are counted as three-year-olds in the northern hemisphere at Royal Ascot,” Barnett said.
“We think the Commonwealth Cup has significant potential.”
There was no Australian representative at the 2014 Royal Ascot Meeting, but the likes of Choisir (2003), Takeover Target (2006), Miss Andretti (2007), Haradasun (2008), Scenic Blast (2009), Starspangledbanner (2010), So You Think (2012) and Black Caviar (2012) have all been successful at the famous meeting in the past 11 years, while the likes of Brazen Beau and Deep Field as well as Australian-trained imported gallopers Protectionist and Adelaide have all been touted as potential Royal Ascot visitors in 2015.