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What Do Classes Mean In Horse Racing?

Written by Darren Wilson
Last updated 3 years ago

When talking about the different classes in horse racing the whole idea behind it is to strike a balance in competition in each race. Each horse is given an official rating by the handicapper after 3 qualifying runs or if a horse wins a race. This is known as the handicap mark and horses move through the system starting low and working their way up to the top. If a horse is outstanding and very competitive then sometimes these go straight into listed/group races.

The classes start at Class 6, this means in any class 6 race, horses that are rated 65 or below are allowed to enter. In these races a horse that is rated at 65 carries top weight with horses rated 63 carrying 2lbs less and so on.

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A good way to look at this is football. Football leagues are split down from Premiership, Championship and so on. The teams in the premiership have worked they’re way through the leagues to be in the top tier and it’s exactly the same for horses. It would be unfair for Chelsea to play a league game against Port Vale and its the same in Horse Racing.

So from class 6 the classes go all the way up to class 1 and all these races are aimed at the best horses in the industry which are listed or group races. To move up the ranks every horse is assessed from time to time by the handicapper. Rated marks may be added with success or if a horse is running close to a higher rated horse in the field. The handicapper is a horse that is currently running poorly and gets weight relief. What must be remembered is that for every mark added in the official ratings means that next time out a pound of weight will be added.

Many trainers like to go through the handicapping route as it’s a great way to have an unexposed horse race well and take home prize money and a nice little bet. These are often the horses to look out for but contacts are needed in the industry to find out who the little gems are. Our 5 point win tips are often unexposed horses and we have a massively high success rate due to our contacts in the industry. Even though it sounds like a long journey to the top, horses can actually move up the ranks very quickly.

One thing to also note is that the higher the class, the higher the prize money. Class 1 races you will find are much more competitive than class 6 races and there’s much more form to work from as horses make they’re way through the classes.

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