English Classics Races Guide

The English Classics are five of the oldest and most prestigious thoroughbred race run in the United Kingdom. For centuries these races have been regarded as the highlights of the English flat racing season, with a win in any one of the Classics regarded as amongst the most impressive achievements in thoroughbred racing.


2000 Guineas

Run over a mile at Newmarket in early May, mainly a test of speed but the uphill finish to the Rowley mile has found many a colt wanting for stamina over the years.

1000 Guineas

The fillies’ equivalent of the 2,000 Guineas; run over the same course and distance at the early May meeting.

The Derby

The “Blue Riband” of the English turf. Three-year-old colts (fillies are eligible but rarely compete these days) stretch every sinew and nerve as they hurtle round Epsom’s switchback mile-and-a-half. This is a true test of stamina for young horses.

St Leger

The St Leger at Doncaster’s Town Moor in September is the last chance of classic glory for many entries these days. No horse since the great Nijinsky has completed the “Triple Crown” of Guineas, Derby and Leger, and the marathon 1m 6f 132yards and glamorous alternatives such as the Arc and Breeders’ Cup lead Derby and Guineas winners’ connections to set their sights elsewhere.

English Classics Betting

The Classics are major betting events, with millions of pounds bet on each of the races annually. The five Classics are also amongst a handful of races which offer year-round antepost betting markets, allowing smart punters to benefit from excellent early odds on the United Kingdom and Ireland’s finest thoroughbred talent.