Types of Horse Racing , Groups and Classifications Guide

Post date 13/07/2022 At: 18:071746 view
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Horse racing is broken down into a handful of categories, types, classifications and grades.Millions are spent on horse racing every single day of the week. Yet the average punter doesn’t understand the difference between these different groupings. 

This article will give you everything when it comes to race types grades and classifications in Indian horse racing. Before we get into the individual race types like maiden, handicap or novice race. There’s two main categories that all Indian horse racing falls under.  


Which is flat racing and national hunt racing?

 National hunt racing is sometimes referred to as jumps. It takes place between October through to April each year. Flat racing takes place over the summer months between April and October

These two classifications are divided into different Groups, Grades and other Classifications to filter and sort the horses based on quality and previous ability.  Understanding the difference between these different race types and classifications is important.   

National hunt 

There’s three different broad types of National hunt horse race. Which are Steeplechases Hurdles and National hunt flat. National hunt flat is sometimes referred to as bumpers (slang term) at national hunt flat race.   

Steeplechase races: The name steeplechase comes from history, back then it was like a straight cross-country from church steeple to steeple. The race was included by fences, all manner of obstacles, usually quite tough obstacles. Which are stamina intensive for the horses themselves and also require them to use a lot of skill from the jockeys. Grand National is the most famous steeplechase. It takes place every single year in April 

Hurdles: These are a little bit different and not taxing on the horses. Have a selection of hurdles, conversion height depending on the course, They usually have a middle distance and there’s less chance of the jockeys being unshipped within these races because the obstacles aren’t quite as taxing.  

National hunt flat: It is referred to as bumpers. These are flat races which are usually at the front and back of the horse racing card. Because they’re the lower quality races and the purpose of these races is to break the horses and riders into national hunt and the national hunt scene. Which is where the term bumper comes from because the riders bump up and down in the seats and saddles and so they’re less important from a betting perspective although they are part of the national hunt calendar.   

Flat racing

Flat racing takes place where there’s no obstacles. Typically on turf, sometimes on all weather surfaces. Flat horse racing is about pace,speed and stamina. For instance, on flat races get younger horses than their national hunt jumping counterparts.

The races range from between 5 furlongs and 2 miles of furlong. About 200 meters,  you’ll see a lot  of horses that are two to three years old on Flat up to about five years old. whereas on the jumps are significantly older. 

Different types of individual flat horse races 

Handicaps: Handicaps account for more than 50 percent of all Indian flat horse races. which obviously make it a bigger category. Horses within these races based on their weight or their rating given to them by the handicapper on a weekly basis. Then they put them to enter certain races and compete. The handicapper grades them in the race  in relation to each other. Then that’s how they handicapped. If the handicapper did the right job, all the horses should be finished at the right time. 

Nursery handicaps: Handicaps for two-year-old horses. 

Maidens: Maidens is a popular category. Usually seen at the front or or the rear end of a race card. Maidens are horses who have not won the races in the past. If the horse has lost three times it will receive a rating and go into handicap. 

Novice: Novices are young horses up to the age of three. Which have previously won the races a maximum of two times.

Claimers and Sellers: Claimers are available to be claimed or purchased and they have to carry maximum weight in the race to get the full purchase price. if the horse doesn’t carry the full weight within that race, then in line with the amount of weight reduction is the proportion of reduction in terms of price.Sellers are low-grade affairs for horses that they’re made available for auction after the race now that may. Auction races are different which are for horses that have previously been sold at auction. 

Condition stakes: There will be conditions to enter in these races which is based on, age, sex, weight in relation to their age more.

Amateurs and Apprentice races: Amateurs are purely races where the riders within the race are amateurs in which they don’t get paid and they’re doing it for fun.  Apprentices are those which use carricks for apprentice jockeys. But they get paid but not as much as the people on the pro level. 

Classifications and Grouping for flat rating 

jockey on horse racing

Flat rating is broken down into groupings of 1 to 3 and classifications of 1 to 7

Group races are like premium quality horse races. Groups 1 to 3 and there is a 4th group listed in conditioned stakes. These horse races take place in the UK and Europe and there’s huge prize pots available to the winner.

Below that there are classifications 1 through to 7. So 1 is the best, 7 is the worst quality but these all vary in the levels of ability. There’s different price pots available to the winners and restrictions for entering these races. The conditions for entering all of these races is set on the horse’s official rating.

The simple way to remember is the horse has an official rating and his score which then gives it the ability to enter in these different classes and it will move up and down depending on how it does. 

Classifications and Grouping for National hunt rating 

National hunt got three grades on the national hunt very similar to the group races on the flat. Listed races fall into fourth position and the classes on the national hunt are 1 through to 6. Whereas, this time instead of seven 1 being the best 6 being the worst and that represents the bulk of  national hunt racing throughout the national hunt calendar from October around to april.