CLASS, CLASS, CLASS.
One of the biggest and most important things to consider in any racehorse when evaluating its ability, and especially for punting purposes is the class in which the horse most likely naturally belongs, and if it is within that class at present. I’m going to try give a quick overview on class and what it means in general and from a punting perspective.
Some horses obviously especially at the younger ages, can be known as “progressive”, and that essentially is what it says on the tin. They are horses that are continuing to improve and develop, and in doing so their handicap marks (OR) will continue to rise and they will move up through the class systems and race against better horses. Horses that are “regressive”, essentially again is what it says in the tin, their ability they displayed at some point in their career stalls and they seem to be going backwards, mounting up a losing run and seeing their handicap marks fall as a result, and drop down the classes to race against lesser animals.
In between the “moving” abilities of the horses described above, you have horses in the middle I would like to best describe it, and I would describe these as “exposed”. What I mean by this, is they are at a stage of their career whereby you know exactly what their ability is, you can understand the marks and class within which they are competitive, and they will run to their mark and their given conditions based on previous exploits. These types are personally for me the type I find to be my bread and butter when trying to exploit the handicap system for punting reasons!
NH racing and flat racing have a very similar system although the classes are labelled slightly different, for my main world of flat racing I will describe below the structure of race class.
Class 1 races are divided into pattern and listed races. Group 1 races are the biggest and most prestigious races, for the best of the best.
After the top level of Class 1 races of the Group races and Listed class, we then have a system which goes from class 2 all the way down to class 7, yet even more confusing is that there is again slightly different contests within these!
Class 2 – Handicaps of rating 86-100, 91-105 and 96-110
Class 3 – Handicaps of 76-90, and 81-95
Class 4 – Handicaps of rating 66-80, and 71-85
Class 5 – Handicaps of rating 56-70, and 61-75
Class 6 – Handicaps of rating 46-60, and 51-65
Class 7 – Handicaps of rating 46-50
If you have ever heard of a horse making it “into a 0-70”, what is essentially means is that the horses official handicap mark has fallen to a mark in which it can race, specifically for horses rated 0-70. New changes have been made to this structure meaning horses slightly above the maximum mark can enter handicaps, but I will go further into specifically handicaps, and how they work in a separate post.
Now we get the jist of the class system, we can understand how this is something we can use in our punting minds! If a horse has been a solid exposed horse running well enough at marks in the early 80s, wins a few races well then raises up the weights and begins to peter out and become exposed. As a slight losing run may be put back together, it finds itself on a mark of 75 again, after some solid but unspectacular efforts in Class 4 Handicaps. It is now eligible to enter a class 5 0-75 handicap, where it has done all its best running and would now theoretically be one of the best horses in the field! This is a perfect opportunity to punt on the horse, if the price is value enough to do so!
I hope this article has partly helped to explain a little about “Class” in horse racing for those who have never fully noticed or understood what it was all about! Any comments be it positive or negative feel free to feed back. Will try to find more time for some articles to pass on thoughts and information so again, anything you would like to see hit us up!
Thanks for reading