Australia’s number of Group 1 races has risen to seventy-one after the Asian Pattern Committee elevated three Group 2 races, the Memsie Stakes, the Moir Stakes and the Canterbury Stakes to the top level.
The 1400m Memsie Stakes (WFA) run at Caulfield, won this year for the last time as a Group 2 event by Sincero on September 1 and the 1200m Moir Stakes (WFA), which has been transferred from Cox Plate day to the first Moonee Valley night meeting of the season, will now be worth a minimum of $350,000 after being elevated to Group 1 status.
And the 1300m Canterbury Stakes (WFA) run at Rosehill in the Autumn will also carry $350,000 after being promoted to Group 1 level after Gai Waterhouse’s glamour mare More Joyous has taken out the Group 2 event the last two years.
Dual Cox Plate winner So You Think and the Peter Moody trained King’s Rose are recent winners of the Memsie Stakes and have helped to lift its prominence while the Moir Stakes has been won by sprinters of the calibre of Black Caviar, who has won the last two, as well as multiple Group 1 winners Apache Cat, Miss Andretti and Falvelon.
The 1200m WFA event will revert back to its original name this year after carrying the title of Schweppes Stakes from 1996 to 2002, when it converted to the Schweppervescence Stakes until 2006 when again it was called the Schweppes Stakes.
Racing Victoria General Manager of Racing, Greg Carpenter said that with the Memsie and the Moir consistently being won by top quality horses, it was a matter of time before they were elevated to the top level.
“We welcome today’s announcement that the Memsie Stakes and Moir Stakes will be elevated to Group 1 status from next season. Both races have consistently rated at an elite level and are won by horses of Group 1 standing,” Carpenter said.
The Chairman of the Australian Pattern Committee, Alan Brown said that the race clubs should be congratulated with the excellent job that they have done to promote their product over a lengthy period of time.
“These three races all clearly exceeded the benchmarks set for Group 1 races and thoroughly deserve elevation. The Memsie has been on average the highest rated Group 2 race in Australia and the Moir the second. The Canterbury Stakes was the highest ranking Group 2 race in Australia last year and rated higher than the Doomben 10,000, the only other Group 1 race in Australia over a similar distance,” Brown said.
“The Australian Pattern Committee congratulates the race clubs concerned with these races. They have done an excellent job promoting them over a considerable period of time and have now been rewarded for that effort”.
With seventy-one Group 1 races now on the Australian Racing Calender, Australia now is the second largest racing nation behind the USA in relation to the ratio of Group ones per flat races.