The G1 St Mark's Basilica Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary will be run two weeks earlier on Sunday, May 14, in an effort to increase its exposure and maintain its Group 1 status, France-Galop revealed on Thursday.
The scheduling update was originally disclosed when 25 black-type races were cut by the European Pattern Committee on Wednesday, but it has now been announced that the race is under scrutiny to be downgraded by the EPC in 2024 if its field quality does not improve. A rating of 110 is required to maintain its Group 1 status, but the past three renewals have averaged just 108.9. France Galop's reasons for moving the date are as follows:
- By running it five weeks before the G1 Prix de Diane Longines, it reinforces its ambition to become a major prep race for the fillies' Classic.
- It will gain more exposure by being included on a card that already features two Classic races, the G1 French 1000 and G1 French 2000 Guineas.
- The two extra weeks between the Prix Saint-Alary and the June 18 Prix de Diane at Chantilly will allow it to become a major prep race for the fillies' Classic and hence secure the rating of the Saint-Alary, whose Group 1 status is currently under threat.
In 2016 and 2017, the Saint-Alary was held at Deauville on the Poules d'Essai card when ParisLongchamp was being renovated, and both editions met the 110 minimum rating–111.3 in 2016 and 111 a year later. Trial races for the newly scheduled race include the 1800-metre G3 Prix Vanteaux at ParisLongchamp on Apr. 9, and two races at Saint-Cloud in April–the G3 Prix Penelope over 2100 metres on Apr. 1 and the G3 Prix Cleopatre going that same trip on Apr. 21.
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