A new £2million prize is up for grabs in Flat racing as part of a £10million initiative to widen horseracing’s public appeal.

From 2010, 10 of the leading Group One races will be renamed the Sovereign Series and points will be awarded to horses for their placings, culminating in the crowning of the champion British racehorse.

By being a mainstream championship, rather than being targeted at the niche racing market, it is hoped that the Sovereign Series will attract a more diverse audience and make racing more accessible for the general sports fan.

The move is being pushed by Racing UK, the channel owned by 30 racecourses, and Ascot.

Chief executive of Racing UK, Simon Bazalgette, said: “By linking Britain’s best Flat races into a season-long competition, the Sovereign Series will strengthen consumer interest and create a new proposition for broadcasters and sponsors.”

The series will start with the Stan James 2000 Guineas and end in October with the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes, both at Newmarket.

Mr Bazalgette added that he hopes that within five years the Sovereign Series will be as established in the British psyche as Wimbledon.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (10 July, ’08)