As part of a long term aim to safeguard the staying breed, the BHA’s plans to enhance the staying pattern have been met with approval by the European Planning Committee (EPC).

The proposals include an upgrade of the Qatar Goodwood Cup to Group 1 level with a prize fund of £500,000.

With Qatar committing to match fund increases, this prestigious staying event over two miles will therefore see a prize money increase of £200,000.

Another key staying race in the calendar which will undergo significant change is the Queen’s Vase at the Royal meeting.

Not only will the race be enhanced to a Group 2 as opposed to its current Listed level status, but the distance will be altered from two miles to 14 furlongs.

General Manager of Goodwood Racecourse, Alex Eade, said: “Elevating the Qatar Goodwood Cup to Group 1 status is something that we have been very keen to happen for a number of years and we are very grateful to the BHA and EPC for supporting and approving the proposal.

“Alongside the other changes made to the Pattern, we hope that our race will now cement its position as part of a high-profile programme for stayers across Europe and provide yet another tantalising clash of the generations on the beautiful summer turf of the Sussex Downs.

“There will be some other changes to the programme of races during the Qatar Goodwood Festival, which have also been approved by the BHA and the EPC, and which will bring a better balance to the week and create a specific focus for each individual day, all part of our ambitious plan to deliver the best raceweek experience in the world.”

In addition, all pattern races run at 13 furlongs and further cannot be downgraded [unless voluntarily] until 2022.

We have a weighty responsibility to protect the continued production of quality stayers

The BHA’S Racing Department have invited applications from racecourses to stage additional three-year-old only staying handicaps in a bid to encourage horsemen to support the stayer at different stages of a thoroughbred’s development.

“We have a weighty responsibility to protect the continued production of quality stayers in the future, for a number of wide-ranging and significant reasons,” said Ruth Quinn, Director of International Racing & Racing Development for the BHA.

“The rich diversity of our race programme, maintaining variety in the gene pool and, as a consequence, our horse population, creates one of the most important, enviable and fascinating dimensions of British racing. Our support must focus on both the aspirational top-end of the sport and the grass-roots.”