People bet at the races for a plethora of reasons. Some do it for fun. Others like the thrill of betting. Then, some are into betting because they know the ins and outs of earning extra money. If you’d like to join the latter, the first thing to do is understand how races work. Including those confusing grades and classes. Sounds complicated? Here’s everything you need to know about horse racing grades and classes
Flat Racing Grades and Classes
Flat races are run on a level track without any obstacles and are divided into three distinct grades: Classics, Class 1, and Class 2-7.
- ● The Classics: This grade is the summit of horse racing and comprises the oldest racing events. There are five classic races in total, comprising the Epsom Derby and Epsom Oaks, the 1,000 Guineas, the 2,000 Guineas, and the St Ledger. The latter is the oldest race, first run at Doncaster at 1776.
- The Class 1: Also called Conditions, these are the top level of flat racing. The conditions refer to the weight carried by horses, which can be different for each particular race. These races are further divided into categories.
- The Class 2-7: This class includes all other flat races run throughout the UK. Like the Class 1, Class 2-7 races are further divided into categories.
For all these races, the British Horseracing Authority ranks horses based on their official handicap (which is established based on ability). Each handicap level correlates to a class – the higher the handicap, the higher the class. For instance, a handicap of 50 horses will be considered Class 7, whereas Class 2 handicaps are over 86.
When betting, checking out the horse handicap and trying to place it into a grade or class can be difficult. As a rule of thumb, the lower the number of the class and grades, the better the horse is and the more prestigious the race.
National Hunt Grades and Classes
National Hunt races are those races that include barriers and obstacles. Some of the most popular horse racing events are National Hunts. There are two classes for National Hunt races: Class 1 and Class 2-7. The first class is divided into three grades, with further categories listed under each grade.
- Grade 1 races are the top of the top. There are only 30 Grade 1 races in all seasons, including championship races such as the King George VI Chase and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. In Grade 1 races, the weight carried by each horse is decided by age and sex only, without any penalties given for previous victories.
- Grade 2 races allow for minor penalties for previous wins, but the weight each horse carries is still decided on a weight-for-age basis.
- Grade 3 races are also called Valuable Open Handicaps and focus more on the handicap rating of each horse rather than its age.
Classes 2-7 are less complex. In these races, the horses are divided based on their quality according to handicap. New horses start at Class 7 and work their way up. It goes without saying that the higher the class, the more money a bet is worth.
Now, are you ready to start using this knowledge? With bet365 promotions, you can try out placing new bets without risking too much.