Different Forms of Horse Racing and How They are Run

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Horse racing includes a number of different racing forms, classes and types of races. In this guide, we’ll take you through the main types of horse racing and how each one is run, to give you a better understanding on which to watch and which to bet on (using Timeform)

Flat Racing

Flat racing is the most popular form of horse racing and is typically run by thoroughbred horses on a flat racetrack. These races tend to be run between one and three miles and are designed to test the speed and stamina of the horses.

Turf racing is the top surface for horses around the world but there are often dirt tracks as well, particularly in the US. In the United States, the Triple Crown events are the most popular flat races. In the UK, some of the most prestigious races are flat races including the 1000 Guineas and 2000 Guineas, the Oaks and Epsom Derby.

Group Races

Group races are divided into three categories – Group 1, Group 2 and Group 3 – and are usually restricted by age, from two-year olds to four-year olds or older. They may also be restricted to specific gender, such as fillies only. Group 1 races are the most prestigious of these races and are a test of class, but Group 2 and 3 races are still important. Below Group 3 level, the races are known as listed races.

Handicap Races

Most horses wind up competing in handicaps, which is where each horse is assessed and given a rating which increases or decreases depending on if they ran well or not after the race. In handicap races, the horse is allotted a weight based on that rating – every point represents 1lb, so a horse with a rating of 90 will carry 9st 8lb.

There are usually rating bands specified for each handicap race, such as 0-90. The maximum rating a horse can have in a flat handicap is 110 – anything higher would require the horse to compete in a listed or Group race.

Jumps Races

Horses competing in jumps races compete from the age of three and up, but many begin much later than that. Jumps racing is also referred to as National Hunt racing and is typically divided into five divisions – National Hunt flat races or bumpers; Novice hurdling; Hurdling; Novice chasing, and Chasing.

In National Hunt flat races, there are no obstacles for the horses to race over and these types of races are seen as the foundation to a career racing over hurdles or fences.

Novice hurdling is for horses who start the season without having won a hurdles race – they can then go on to compete in hurdling once they have gained their first win. Similarly, in novice chasing, horses can run in novice chases until the end of the season of their first win over fences before moving on to the chasing division. Chases are for horses running over fences and competing in either Graded or Handicap races. One of the main differences between jumps and flat races is that the handicap ratings are much higher with jumps racing than with flat.

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Read 230 times Last modified on Friday, 20 December 2019 15:11
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