There are many types of horse racing, from Handicaps and Bumpers to Tipperary's specialities of Flat and National Hunt racing.
As the name indicates, this type of horse racing is run on the flat - with no jumps.
Tipperary is also famous for its National Hunt Racing. Started at a tape barrier, all jump races are contested over at least 2 miles and the horses and jockeys have to jump a number of obstacles. Jump horses mature more slowly and don't run until they are 4 or 5 years old. Jump racing goes on all year round with the key festivals in Ireland being Leopardstown at Christmas, Fairyhouse at Easter, Punchestown in the Spring and Galway in the Summer.
Maiden - These races are for horses that haven't won
a race before
Handicap - A handicap race sees all horses carry weights
based on their ability, which is assessed by the official handicapper. The
highest rated horse carries the most weight and the lowest carries the least.
Theoretically they then all have an equal chance of winning. A Nursery is a
handicap for 2-year-olds only.
Novice - for hurdle races is a horse which has not won a hurdle
race or steeplechase prior to the end of April that year, other than one hunter
steeplechase within the previous two National Hunt seasons. However, any horse which wins a hurdle race or a steeplechase (hunter
steeplechase excluded) for the first time between February and the end of April
will be qualified as a “Novice” for the period up to December that year, other than the winner of a
Weight For Age Grade 1 Hurdle or Steeplechase prior to the end of April that year. For
exact dates see the Turf Club Rules for the relevant year.
Bumper- A Bumper is a special flat race for young jump horses
(also called National Hunt Flat Races). Run over 2 - 2 1/2 miles, these are
usually confined to amateur jockeys.
Group 1, 2, 3 (Flat) - These names indicate valuable races
(Group 1 being the most valuable) in which the weights carried are the same for
Classics - Classics are five high quality Group 1 flat
races: Irish 2,000 Guineas, Irish 1,000 Guineas, Irish Derby, Irish Oaks
(confined to fillies), and Irish St. Leger, which are all run at the Curragh
Listed - These races are just below Group standard but
still quite prestigious, and are 'weight for age' races.
Conditions Race - A notch below listed standard, Conditions
Races require certain conditions for qualification, e.g. winner of one race or
more, winner of races of a certain value etc.
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