Horse Racing Ireland have announced a further strengthening of the Irish Flat Pattern race programme, having secured European Pattern Committee approval for the promotion of two races from Listed to Group 3 status for 2009.

The two new Group 3 races (2009 dates shown) are:-

30 August: Curragh Dance Design Stakes 9f 3yo+Fillies

2 October: Dundalk - Diamond Stakes 10f 3yo+

Announcing these new upgrades, HRI Director of Racing, Jason Morris said: 'The promotion of these two races further re-enforces HRI's commitment towards its key strategic policy of encouraging the production and retention of high quality horses in Ireland under both codes.

The success of this policy was reflected in the World Thoroughbred Rankings announced this week, with New Approach crowned the Joint Overall World Champion and World Champion three-year-old, Duke of Marmalade announced as the World Champion Older Horse on Turf, Mastercraftsman and Bushranger leading home an Irish 1-2 amongst European two-year-olds, and Septimus and Yeats jointly topping the list as World Champion Stayers.

These achievements reflect great credit on our racing industry and on all of the connections involved.”

Jim Martin, Chief Executive of Dundalk Stadium, said: 'We are absolutely delighted to have secured the promotion of the Diamond Stakes to Group 3 status. Muhannak’s win in the 2008 running and his subsequent victory at the Breeders Cup underlines the quality of horses that have been racing at Dundalk since we opened in August 2007.

We look forward to Friday, 2 October when the 2009 renewal of the Diamond will be an historic event for Dundalk Stadium, with our first ever Pattern race being an important milestone in the development of All Weather Track racing in Ireland.'

Paul Hensey, Curragh Manager, commented: 'The upgrading of the Dance Design Stakes is very welcome news, as it will provide a further boost to what is already an extremely strong card on Moyglare Stud Stakes Day.

'It is a race which has attracted some outstanding fillies such as Chelsea Rose, Ardbrae Lady, Timarwa and Finsceal Beo in its four years of being run, and we can now anticipate an even higher quality, international field for this promoted race in 2009.'