There are many types of horse racing, from Handicaps and Bumpers to Leopardstown'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.
Leopardstown 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 but its main season runs from November until the end of April.
Types of Jump Races
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 - These races are hurdles and steeplechases for horses that haven't won such a race prior to that season. However, a horse that has won over hurdles the season before can still run in a novice chase and vice versa. (?)
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.
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