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  • Racing Guide

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    There are many types of horse racing, from Handicaps and Bumpers to Tipperary's specialities of Flat and National Hunt racing.

    Flat Racing

    As the name indicates, this type of horse racing is run on the flat - with no jumps. 

    • Flat races are run over distances ranging from 5 furlongs (5/8 mile or 1,000 metres) to 20 furlongs (2 1/2 miles or 4,000 metres).
    • They are started from stalls.
    • The flat racing season runs from mid-March to mid-November.
    • Flat horses mature quickly and start running as 2 or 3-year-olds.

    National Hunt Racing / 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. 

    Types of Jump Races

    • Steeplechase - Run over "fences" which vary in size.
    • Hurdle - Run over obstacles measuring about 3 feet 1 inch in height.
    • Point to Point - Run over fences on designated farmland throughout Ireland in the Spring and Autumn. Point to points are like a nursery for young jump horses.



    Horse Racing Glossary

    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 Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board 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 all horses.

    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 racecourse.

    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.