Whether you are a bettor who is constantly on the hunt for better value on racing bets, or just an avid horse lover who takes every opportunity you can get to watch magnificent animals at their best, horse racing has something to entertain everyone. The sport has delivered excitement and joy for centuries and although there are new and more sophisticated ways of racing emerging all of the time, the basic makeup of the sport of the races we know and love has changed very little. That said, there is a lot to get to grips with when it comes to the world of horseracing; from bet types to raceday lingo, it can all seem a little overwhelming to the newcomer. In this guide we take a look at horse racing types: from flat racing to jump racing.
As the name suggests, flat racing takes place on flat ground free of barriers and obstacles. The most common surface for flat racing is grass – or turf – and this is what the vast majority of flat races will take place on. However, there is also an all weather surface that is used instead of turf on some tracks. The artificial surface is made from Polytrack – like the course at Lingfield or from Fibrasand like that at Southwell.
Flat racing is all about speed and power and this is what owners and trainers look for when they are selecting a horse to nurture, train and race. The long straights and sweeping turns of many flat racing tracks mean that horses need to be able to run at speed and with power whilst also being able to navigate the intricacies of the track. There are a range of distances run in flat racing and the shortest races tend to see sprints over just 5 furlongs and longer races take place over distances of upto two miles.
Flat racing is very popular in the UK and there are several types of races within this category including handicap, maidens, novices and claimers and sellers.
Notable flat races in the UK include the 1000 and 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket and the Queen Anne Stakes as Ascot.
More formally known as National Hunt Racing, jump racing involves horses running around a track and clearing hurdles and obstacles that are placed at certain intervals. This form of racing can be exciting to watch and many bettors enjoy placing a stake on horses running in jump racing as it can be a little more unpredictable than flat racing tends to be.
There are three main types of jump racing in the UK: steeplechase, hurdles and National Hunt flat races (better known as ‘bumpers’).
Steeplechase races require horses to clear fences and hedges as they run around the track, hurdles races involve clearing hurdles that are at least 1.07m in height and ‘bumpers’ do not involve obstacles as they are used to break in and train upcoming jump racing horses.
The most famous jump racing event is The Grand National.