The English Classics consist of the oldest and most anticipated races in UK horse racing history. It is a collection of five long-standing Group 1 horse races, restricted to three-year-old horses, run during the traditional flat racing season. The Classics are regarded as the height of achievement for horses and their jockeys. This means winning any Classic gives a horse the reputation of being among the best of its generation. Therefore, the more wins, the more exceptional the horse is. Here are five classic English horse races that go down in history.
The Two Thousand Guineas
The Two Thousand Guineas is the first Classic of the season. These races are open to both sexes but are predominantly run by colts, with the last filly winning a race in 1916. The 2,000 Guineas is run over a mile (the Rowey Mile) at the Newmarket Racecourse in late April or early May.
The One Thousand Guineas
This Classic is run the day after the Two Thousand Guineas over the same Rowey Mile in Newmarket Recourse. However, whereas the previous Classic is open to both sexes, the One Thousand Guineas are exclusive to only fillies. Since the race was initiated in 1814, Specter was the remarkable filly who won this Classic and went on to win three others in 1902.
Inaugurated in 1779, the Oaks takes place on over 1.5 miles of the Epsom Down racecourse. Like the One Thousand Guineas, the Oaks is a Classic racing event restricted to only fillies and takes place in early June. Other famous horse races worldwide, such as the Irish Oaks, Preis der Diana, the AJC Oaks, Japan’s Yushun Himba, and the New Zealand Oaks, are all based on this Classic.
The Derby, also known as the Epsom Derby and Derby Stakes, is the most important and prestigious flat race amongst the five classics. Held on the first Saturday of June, the Derby gives horse racing fans a chance to place bets on the best horse racing selections. The race is restricted to only three-year-old colts and fillies and is run over the 2,400-metre turf of the Epsom Downs turf in Surrey, England. Horses that perform well in this Classic are usually sent to compete in Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France.
The Saint Leger
For horses and jockey seeking one more attempt to get a Triple Crown, Saint Leger offers a redeeming chance. The Saint Leger Classic was established and named after Colonel Barry Saint Leger. Held at Doncaster Racecourse, this race is over a mile and 6 ½ furlongs and open to both colts and fillies. It is run annually in September in Doncaster, Yorkshire.
The English Classics are a great horse racing event to look forward to! Not only do they give horse racing fans something to look forward to, but they also offer a chance to witness history in the making.