Each division of the racing industry draws its own enthusiasts and protagonists and it must be said that some areas attract huge sums of money while others are strictly on a very amateur level; but none the less enjoyable for that. Any type of horse racing will almost guarantee a good day out for family, friends and those all important corporate and international clients.
This is the term normally used to describe a form of horse racing which is run over a level track at a predetermined distance. The flat racing season extends throughout the summer months as this ensures better weather than Jump racing, in addition the prize money is significantly better on the flat than over a course with obstacles.
Flat Racing takes place on a turf course or on a synthetic all-weather track. It is a prestigious and global, sport with glamorous and historic meetings held all over Britain as well as Europe, the United States, Australia, the Middle East and the Far East. It is without a doubt one of the few sports that attracts serious amounts of money in both investment and gambling.
In British horse racing there are a series of horse races run over the flat known as The Classics. Each classic is run once each year and is restricted to horses that are three years old. There are five Classic races:
2,000 Guineas Stakes
1,000 Guineas Stakes
St. Leger Stakes
NATIONAL HUNT RACING
National Hunt racing in the UK is divided into two major distinctions which are Hurdles and Steeple Chase. Alongside these there are “Bumpers” which are National Hunt flat races. This programme runs on turf from autumn through to spring and takes advantage of a variety and geographical spread of racecourses.
These are timber obstacles of a minimum 3’6″ in height when cleared. Hurdles races are divided into different categories, determined by age, experience and distance.
These are a variety of obstacles to be cleared which can include a plain fence, which are a minimum of 4’6″ in height on the take off side, a water jump, where horses clear a fence of at least 3′ in height and land in water 3″ deep or, probably the most scary, an open Ditch; these are a minimum of 4’6″ in height on the take off side but the horses land in a turf ditch on the landing side.
Point-to-Point racing is a very popular form of steeple chasing for amateur riders. It is run under the administrative body and governance of the Point-to-Point Authority, whilst regulated by the British Horseracing Authority. Meetings are usually run by a local Hunt or alternatively a recognised Point-to-Point Club. The season runs from the end of November up until June and features over 200 fixtures.
The majority of point-to-points are held at weekends all across the UK. Races are run over 3 miles with a minimum of 18 fences to be jumped. However, there are a few longer races (up to 4 miles) and a number of 2 ½ mile races for maidens.
A large number of owners, riders, trainers and officials in the professional racing industry all got their first taste of racing from being involved with Point-to-Points. This is a section of the horse racing sport that encourages and educates young jockeys in race-riding, many making the transition from Point-to-Points to Jump racing with considerable success.
Similarly, Point-to-Point racing provides an excellent racing environment for older horses whose handicap rating may limit opportunities under rules or who are no longer suited to the rigours of Jump racing, yet still enjoy the game and have much to offer in the amateur ranks. In addition point-to-points give racing enthusiasts the opportunity to follow Thoroughbred racing in areas not easily accessible to racecourses bringing live racing to new audiences.
Point to Point racing also draws together regional and local communities and attracts enormous support from volunteers, who are the cornerstones to its successful running, acting in a wide variety of roles, including stewarding and officials, course and fence preparation, organisation leading up to a meeting, smooth running of racing on the day and putting the course back to peak condition for subsequent meetings.