Horse races in the UK fall under different classes. These classes are meant to be able to help us determine the quality of the race, and to a certain degree they do. Understanding which horses can run in certain class races can make a significant improvement to your betting, especially when I let you into a little secret, more on that later though!
First of all we want to go through the different types of classes in UK racing. There are 7 classes in total but some of these are sub-divided further.
The highest class is 1 and only the best horses should be racing in these. Class 1 races are broken down further. In jump racing they are broken into…
- Grade 1 – These are the best championship races where the weight a horse carries is determined by age and sex, however there is no penalty given in weight to a horses previous wins.
- Grade 2 – Like Grade 1 races, runners have there weight carried determined by age and sex but, they are also made to carry more for previous winning races.
- Grade 3 – Open handicap races where the weight a horse carries is determined by the horse’s handicap rating.
- Listed Races – Not as high quality as the graded races but still recognised as being high quality races due to the runners involved.
In flat racing, the Class 1 races are divided into pattern and listed races. Pattern races are the best in flat racing, and are further divided into groups.
- Group 1 – Races of major international importance.
- Group 2 – Major international races but of slightly less importance than Group 1 races.
- Group 3 – Important domestic races.
- Listed races, as in jumps racing, are of a high quality but slightly lesser so than the pattern races.
After the class 1 races we get classes 2 through to 7. Horses can enter these races based on their handicap rating.
- Class 2 – Heritage Handicaps, Handicaps of rating 86-100, 91-105 and 96-110
- Class 3 – Handicaps of 76-90, and 81-95
- Class 4 – Handicaps of rating 66-80, and 71-85
- Class 5 – Handicaps of rating 56-70, and 61-75
- Class 6 – Handicaps of rating 46-60, and 51-65
- Class 7 – Handicaps of rating 46-50
Now you know which horses can race under which conditions you need to know how a horse gets it’s handicap rating!
But we can look at that in another article because, I promised to tell you a secret. The realisation of this is what first started to make me profitable.
It is all very well saying that a Class 3 race, for example, can have horses in it with a rating of 76-90 but…
…do you think that a Class 3 race with horses that are all rated 76 is going to be similar to one were all runners are rated 90?
Of course not!
Obviously we will never get a race where every horse has the same rating. The purpose of this impossible example, was to demonstrate that the boundaries are fixed, however the horses running are not.
If you can monitor your own class levels then you can quickly see the true class of a race based on the runners in the race, and when a horse is in a class much lower/higher than it should be it will stand out like a sore thumb!
Not only will it stand out, but you will also be able to see if it is in this race because it has been building up to it or declining in performance. In other words, is it likely to put in a good run or not.
The most important thing to take away from this article, is that there are many different ways to measure class, and the official way is not necessarily the best.