Horse racing is an exciting sport that consists of several high-profile competitions, including the famous classic English horse races—otherwise known as the British Classic Races.
Asides from its long history (the first of five races began in 1776), it is renowned because competing in it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for any horse. Only three-year-old horses are eligible to enter these races.
This, combined with the fact these are the fastest horses in flat racing, all at their physical best. So, it is not hard to see why these races are internationally famous and highly prestigious. On that note, here are five classic English horse races.
1. 2,000 Guinea Stakes
Although it started much later after the first classic English horse race, the 2,000 Guinea Stakes, which began in 1809, is the first of the yearly group of races. It takes place every year in late April or early May at the Newmarket Racecourse in Suffolk.
The race spans a distance of one mile meters on a straight turf surface, and eligibility is open to thoroughbred colts and fillies. Since its inception, many records have been set and broken at the 2,000 Guinea Stakes, including the number of victories for a trainer, currently held by Aiden O’Brien by ten wins.
2. 1,000 Guinea Stakes
The 1,000 Guinea Stakes classic English horse race began in 1814, five years after its counterpart. With the exception that eligibility is exclusive to thoroughbred fillies, it shares the same race profile with the 2,000 Guinea Stakes.
The Group 1 Flat Horse Race is held a day after the 2,000 Guinea Stakes and the first race in the Fillies’ Triple Crown, the greatest accomplishment in Thoroughbred Racing. It has been achieved only by nine horses, with the most recent victory in 1985, by the Irish Bred Oh So Sharp.
3. Epsom Oaks
The second race in the Fillies’ Triple Crown is the Epsom Oaks race, commonly held in late May or early June. The race began in 1779 and spans 2,420 meters or one mile, four furlongs, and six yards.
Epsom Oaks is held at the Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey and is popularly referred to as The Oaks. It has a turf surface, and the track is left-handed.
4. Epsom Derby
If the Ascot Gold Cup, where punters can get Ascot free bets, is the crown jewel of flat horse racing for four-year-old and older horses, then the Epsom Derby holds that title for Classic English Horse Races.
It occurs annually on the first Saturday of June and one of Britain’s great national sporting events, attracting over 100,000 spectators and a global viewing audience.
The Epsom Derby is run over a distance of four furlongs, one mile, and six yards (2,420 meters) at the racecourse in Surrey.
5. St Leger Stakes
The last leg of the Fillies Triple Crown, St Leger Stakes, is the oldest of the five Classic English Horse Races. It is the final race of the Classics season, occurring annually in September at the Doncaster Racecourse in South Yorkshire.
Besides being the last race, it is also the longest, with a distance of 2,937 meters or one mile, six furlongs, and 132 yards. Unlike the other races in the Fillies Triple Crown series, St Leger Stakes is open to both sexes.
Due to its distance, it is hard for a single horse to possess the speed and stamina to win all three races. The only horse that came close in recent years lost its bid for the crown after finishing second in the St Leger Stakes.