NEW GROUP ONE SPRINT AT ROYAL ASCOT NAMED

ARCADIA, CA - OCTOBER 31:  Lanfranco Dettori reacts to his win atop Hootenanny in front of Mike Smith atop Lucky Kitten during the 2014 Breeder's Cup Juven
Image: Hootenanny could bid for the Commonwealth Cup

Ascot have announced that the new Group One race at the Royal Meeting is to be named the Commonwealth Cup.

The eighth Group One race at Royal Ascot will be run for £375,000 on the Friday card, replacing the Buckingham Palace Stakes. It will be open to three-year-old colts, geldings and fillies.

The Wolferton Stakes has been moved from Friday to Saturday with the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap transferred the other way, to ensure a competitive handicap is run as the fifth race on each day of Royal Ascot.

Prize money at Royal Ascot next year will increase to £5,585,000 from £5,310,000.

Charles Barnett, Chief Executive at Ascot, said: "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.

"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. We think the Commonwealth Cup has significant potential.

"It is pleasing to be able to stage the first £5.5 million Royal Meeting in 2015 and we are also today unveiling the first Economic Impact report on our business, compiled by Deloitte.

"The report provides a fascinating snapshot into our business, and figures for 2014 continue to show an upturn. Royal Ascot attendance increased from 279,000 to 286,000 this year and hospitality was up 20%," he added.

"Away from Royal Ascot, perhaps the most significant addition to our programme was the Red Bull Air Race World Championship leg which we staged in August. That brought in 50,000 people and with it, further economic benefits to the region to supplement those that come with our established year long race programme.

"The report demonstrates how important Ascot Racecourse is to the local, regional and national economy, as befits Europe's flagship racing venue." 

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