Flat racing season is one of the most exciting times in the sporting calendar. The five classics are the races that can make or break a horse’s racing career. These are also some of the most popular races when it comes to horse racing betting. Here is a quick guide to each of the classic races.
The 2000 Guineas is a race that is run over the course of one mile and takes place in Newmarket’s Rowley Course. The race is scheduled to be run on the first day of the two-day Newmarket Guineas festival. The 2000 Guineas is a race that attracts the best three-year-old milers from all over the UK, Ireland and France as they all compete to earn the kudos of winning the race and, of course, to get the substantial prize money.
Although the race is open for both colts and fillies, it is usually only contested by colts as fillies can struggle against the strength and speed of the males. However, the ladies can enjoy their own race the next day, which is a little fairer to them.
In some cases, when there is a standout horse, this will be the first race in their program as they go for the triple crown – winning the 2000 Guineas, St Leger and Derby, although the last time this was achieved was back in 1970 by Nijinsky.
2021 predictions: This is still early days and many things can change, but bookies right now are putting their weight behind Wembley.
This race is run on the Sunday of the Guineas weekend and is equally as popular as the 2000 Guineas. The race is named after the original winner’s purse when it was first introduced back in 1814. This is a race that is run by fillies only and is also run over Newmarket’s Rowley Mile. The last part of the race is where the best of the action happens and is what sorts out the winners from the rest. It is very rare that any filly will go for the triple crown as it’s even hard for the ladies. Only 9 fillies have ever managed this, and the last time it was won was in 1985 by Oh So Sharp.
2021 predictions: At this early stage, bookmakers seem to be backing Pretty Gorgeous as this year’s favourite.
The Oaks was first run back in 1779 at Epsom Downs and it is the second oldest of the five classic flat races. It originally came about when the 12th Earl of Derby decided to finish their party off, which was taking place at The Oaks, by running a race for the fillies. This was called the Oakes Stakes the next year. Following this, it became one of the most important races on the calendar and it attracted three-year-old fillies from all over the world. Now, many countries have their own equivalents such as The Irish Oaks, Oaks D’Italia and Prix de Diane.
The race is run over 1 mile and 4 furlongs and has been run at Epsom Downs every year apart from when the World Wars were happening, and it was moved to Newmarket.
2021 predictions: As this is another race for three-year-old fillies, bookmakers are backing Pretty Gorgeous as a front runner.
The Derby is a race for three-year-old colts and fillies and is run over the course of 1 mile 4 furlongs. This is one of the most highly esteemed races and has a big history. Lester Piggott has won it 9 times and leads the may in terms of victories. Meanwhile, the most successful trainer is Aiden O’Brien who has been the winning trainer 8 times so far.
2021 predictions: Again, the bookmakers are putting their money on Wembley for the win, especially if he does well at 2000 Guineas.
The last one on our list is St Leger which is the final classic race of the season. The race takes place and is run at Doncaster – and is another race just for the three-year-old runners. It was first run back in 1776 and is the oldest of them all. It was thought up by Anthony St Leger, who was an army officer and politician. This is the longest of the classic races and is run over the course of 1 mile 6 furlongs and 132 yards.
2021 Predictions: The favourite for this one right now is Santa Barbara and is predicted to do well.