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Types of Horse Race


The main types of races in Britain are Handicap races and Stakes races.

Races are then split further into maiden races, claiming and selling races.

Many different types of race exist to cater for the different types and abilities of horses. Horses that have not won a race can run in maiden races, the best horses can run in higher class races such as Group races and Listed races and the top handicaps, which offer the most prize money. The lowest class of races are selling and claiming stakes races, in addition to low class handicaps for horses with limited ability.



Race Types and Descriptions

Group Group 1, 2 and 3. The highest class of race.

Listed Just below group class.

Rated Stakes Valuable handicaps with a 10 to 14lb weight range.

Conditions Stakes Races for horses below Listed Class, where horses carry weights based on particular conditions, e.g. according to races won, age etc.

Classified Stakes Races with a maximum rating for horses that have run at least 3 times, or run twice and won at least once.

Handicap Races where the weight a horse has to carry is determined by the official handicapper. The better the horse, the higher its handicap rating. Horse can only run in races where the max rating is higher or equal to its rating.

Nursery Handicap for 2yo horses only.

Maiden Handicap For 3yo+ maidens with a max rating of 70 that have run at least 4 times.

Maiden For horses that have never won.

Rated Maiden Maiden races with a max rating for horses that have run at least 3 times.

Novice For 2yos that have not won more than twice.

Auction Maiden For 2yos originally sold by auction at specified sales.

Median Auction Maiden For 2yos by stallions that established a median price for their yearlings at specified sales.

Selling For low class horses. The winners are offered for auction. Any other runner can be claimed too.

Claiming Each horse is allocated a weight according to the claiming price determined by the connections. The lower the weight, the lower the claiming price. Any horse can be claimed after the race.

Apprentice Races confined to apprentice jockeys only. Apprentices are allowed to claim a weight allowance because of their inexperience. They can claim 7lbs until they have won 20 races, 5lbs until 50 races, and 3lbs until 95 races. Weight allowances can be claimed in all race types except listed and group races. In some apprentice only races those apprentices that have never won a race can claim 10lbs. In some special races apprentices are allowed to claim a further 3lbs if they are riding for their retained yard.

Amateur Amateurs jockeys only who ride at a heavier weight than professionals.

Lady Female amateurs and female apprentices.

Gentlemen Male amateurs only.


Since 2005 a new classification system for races has been used, with the Group 1,2,3 A-H classification changed to a new 1-7 number system.





Michael Easterby Racing
New House Farm
Sheriff Hutton, York
UK, YO60 6TN
Tel: 01347 878368


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