- Major new race meeting for Newmarket featuring six Group races and a Handicap
- Fillies' Mile and Royal Lodge Stakes move to Newmarket strengthens 2yo programme
- Rowley Mile Course will raise curtain on British Champions' Series with 2,000 Guineas
- July Festival shift sees Newmarket gain a premier Saturday slot for July Cup Day
- Full programme will be revealed in the BHA 2011 fixture list
Newmarket Racecourses today announced that from next year it will host a major new race meeting, Future Champions Day, as part of a strong 2011 race programme at the Home of Racing. The event has been formed as part of a race transfer agreement around the new British Champions Series. The news follows an industry announcement that confirmed both Newmarket's Rowley Mile Course and July Course will be pivotal to the new premier race Series.
Britain's first ever Future Champions Day will take place on Saturday 8 October 2011, featuring six Group races: the Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1), Middle Park Stakes (Group 1), Rockfel Stakes (Group 2) and Autumn Stakes (Group 3) all for 2yo horses, and the Challenge Stakes (Group 2), Darley Stakes (Group 3) for 3yo and upwards, as well as the Cesarewitch Heritage Handicap.
The fixture provides British racing with an opportunity to showcase the best two-year-old horses from Britain and overseas a week before a new industry-day hosted at Ascot offers a climax to the British premier three-year-old Flat racing season, featuring the Champion Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, Diadem Stakes, Jockey Club Cup and Pride Stakes.
As part of the race transfer agreement, the Fillies' Mile will be staged at Newmarket on 23 September 2011. This will make Newmarket the scene for four of the five Group 1s contested by two-year-olds in the UK calendar, strengthening its reputation for hosting top juvenile races. This will be cemented by the transfer of the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes, which will be run on the Rowley Mile Course on 24 September 2011.
Stephen Wallis, Managing Director of Newmarket Racecourses, said: "Future Champions Day can become a focus of real excitement in the British racing calendar. It promises a superb climax to the premier two-year-old Flat season and includes other races such as the biggest betting Handicap of the autumn, the totesport Cesarewitch. It is a fixture befitting the Home of Racing, where so many future champions of our sport are bred and trained."
The introduction of British Champions Series from 2011 offers Newmarket Racecourses and British racing as a whole a platform to help attract new followers. On Saturday 30 April 2011, the Series will launch on the Rowley Mile Course at the 2,000 Guineas, which has been run at the historic Newmarket course since its inauguration in 1809. The Series continues at the Home of Racing at pace just a day later with the 197th renewal of the 1,000 Guineas on Sunday 1 May 2011.
On Thursday 7 July 2011, British Champions Series will return to Newmarket, this time with a summer feel at the July Course, with the Falmouth Stakes as part of the July Festival. Moving the festival back by a day into a Thursday to Saturday slot creates an additional ‘premier' Saturday for Newmarket, with the July Cup run as part of the British Champions Series on 9 July 2011.
On 24 September 2011, Newmarket hosts at the Rowley Mile Course its final Series race, the Joel Stakes. It will be the last British Champions' Series race before all eyes turn to Ascot for the first ever British Champions Day – the richest day in British racing history. As an investor in British Champions Series as part of The Jockey Club, Newmarket Racecourses has an equity stake in this industry climax. It has also organised for all its Annual Badge holders to benefit from a reciprocal arrangement with Ascot at the new British Champions Day.
The remainder of Newmarket's strong 2011 race programme – including several race transfers to Newmarket as part of the agreement for participating in the new British Champions Series – will be confirmed with the publication of next year's fixture list, which the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has scheduled to release on 23 September 2010.
Commenting on the involvement of Newmarket Racecourses in the new British Champions Series, Stephen Wallis added: "The Newmarket Board fully supports the creation of this major new platform for British racing. We have played a central role in this initiative from the outset in an effort to help create the best possible opportunity for the future of our sport, while preserving its heritage and securing a strong race programme for Newmarket.
"British Champions Series will launch on the Rowley Mile and we will also stage two further series races there, followed by two more at the July Course, before we host Future Champions Day. As part of our involvement, we will also receive the transfer of several races to Newmarket, which the BHA's 2011 fixture list will confirm.
"We appreciate why some people would rather the Champion Stakes remained in Newmarket, but I also hope they will recognise it is now part of a shared industry day that will help build the profile and finances of the sport we hold so dear."
Simon Bazalgette, Group Chief Executive of The Jockey Club and Chairman of Jockey Club Racecourses, which owns Newmarket Racecourses, said: "The forward-looking approach of Newmarket throughout this process has been fundamental to British racing introducing new platforms to attract wider audiences at home and abroad. A balanced transfer of races between Newmarket and Ascot has been agreed and ensures the Home of Racing maintains a heavyweight programme of quality British racing.
"As well as playing a major role in British Champions Series, Newmarket's juvenile programme has been strengthened further from 2011 and is arguably the finest in the world."