New course layout for Guineas Festival

Newmarket Racecourses has announced a change to the course layout at the Rowley Mile for the 2015 QIPCO Guineas Festival on Saturday, 2nd and Sunday, 3rd May.

Through consultation and agreement from the BHA race planning and racecourse departments, the stalls, previously positioned in the centre of the course, will now move to the stand side rail. A false rail will also be introduced three metres off the permanent stand side rail and will cut in at the three furlong pole.

To accommodate the narrowing of the course through the introduction of the false rail, the maximum field size limit at the QIPCO Guineas Festival will now be 25 in comparison to 30 last year. Over the last five years, there has not been a race at the Festival which has featured over 25 declared runners.

Michael Prosser, Head of Racing, Jockey Club Racecourses East Region, said: “Following consultation with certain horsemen, it was agreed that the stalls would be positioned in the centre of the course for the 2004 Classics which has remained the same ever since. This has been a successful move and the best horse in the race has invariably won. However, tactics can lead to the field splitting which was the case in the 2014 QIPCO 2000 Guineas, and this is unsatisfactory.

“By positioning the stalls against the stand side rail and introducing a false rail at the three furlong pole, we are encouraging the field to stay together with the false rail helping to eliminate any hard luck stories.”

Roger Varian, Trainer, said: “I think it’s a good thing that Michael Prosser and his team are thinking of ways that the showcase event gets run as fairly as possible as nobody likes seeing the race split.

“There is a strong argument for having the stalls against the stand side rail to encourage the field to race as one.  The false rail at the three furlong marker should eliminate any hard luck stories which are inevitable when large field’s race against one rail.

“Truth will be in the running but I think it’s certainly a positive development.”

John Gosden, Trainer, said: “With big fields over a straight mile, you are always going to come across two possible problems; the field splitting or being boxed in, as was the case with Six Perfections in the 1,000 Guineas.

“Stalls on the stand side rail and opening up the field at the three furlong mark may be the solution to these on-going issues.”

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