British Classic Races Overview 2013

Horse racing in the UK is split between the National Hunt calendar and the flat racing season. The National Hunt side of racing has the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National. But flat racing has Royal Ascot and the British Classics. The Classics are a series of five flat races open to three-year-old thoroughbreds, and here we take a look at each in turn.

Despite the fifth of the Classics commencing way back in 1814, no horse has ever won all five. One horse – Sceptre in 1903 – has managed to win four outright, missing out on the Derby, while another – Formosa in 1868 also won the same four but was joint-winner of the 2,000 Guineas after a dead heat.

2,000 Guineas Stakes, Newmarket – Saturday 4th May 2013

Open to colts and fillies and run over the Rowley Mile at Newmarket, as well as being the first of the Classics to be run in the flat racing season, it is also the first leg of the Triple Crown – along with the Derby and the St Leger – that was last won by the Canadian-bred Irish-trained Nijinsky in 1970, only the 15th in history.

The strong favourite for this year’s 2,000 Guineas – available at 7/4 with most bookies at the time of writing – is the unbeaten Irish colt Dawn Approach. He’s won each of his six races to date including the Coventry Stakes at Ascot and two Group 1 races at Curragh and Newmarket. Could he be on for the Guineas-Derby double? He could have the class to go for it and odds of 12/1 with SkyBet to achieve that feat look tempting to us.

Read our full preview and tips article here: 2000 Guineas Stakes Tips - 4th May 2013 

1,000 Guineas Stakes, Newmarket – Sunday 5th May 2013

First run in 1814 – five years after the inauguration of the 2,000 Guineas – the 1,000 Guineas is one of two Classics restricted to fillies (the other being the Oaks). It serves as the opening leg of the Fillies’ Triple Crown, along with the Oaks and the St Leger, which was last won in 1985 by Oh So Sharp.

Unlike the 2,000 Guineas there is no out-and-out favourite at present for this one, with three horses – Just The Judge, Certify and What A Name – all priced at around the 7/1 mark. Of the three we have our eyes firmly on Certify who has won each of her four runs to date including three at Newmarket, the last of which was Group 1.

Read our full preview and tips article here: 1000 Guineas Stakes Tips - 5th May 2013

The Oaks, Epsom Downs – Friday 31st May 2013

As with the 1,000 Guineas, the Oaks, which was inaugurated way back in 1779, is open to fillies only. Run over a distance of one mile four furlongs and 10 yards, it is a little longer than the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas which are each a mile.

Currently the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Liber Nauticus is the 11/1 favourite with SkyBet for this one, despite the Irish filly having raced just once. As with the 1,000 Guineas, Certify is our ante-post fancy and is available at very favourable odds of 16/1 with Betfred and others at the time of writing.

Read our full preview and tips article here: The Oaks Tips - 31st May 2013

The Derby, Epsom Downs – Saturday 1st June 2013

The Derby at Epsom Downs is the original “Derby” – to which all since doff their caps – having been inaugurated back in 1780, 12 years before Kentucky (home of another popular Derby) became the 15th state to join the United States.

The middle race of the Triple Crown, along with the 2,000 Guineas and the St Leger, it is open to colts and fillies and is run over the same course and distance as the Oaks.

AP O’Brien’s colt Kingsbarns is the current favourite at around 5/1 (Stan James and others) but it’s a little too early to nail our colours to the mast for this one just yet.

Read our full preview and tips article here: The Derby Tips - 1st June 2013

St Leger Stakes, Doncaster – Saturday 14th September 2013

The last, longest and oldest of the classics, the St Leger was first run in 1776 and, along with the aforementioned 2,000 Guineas and Derby, makes up the Triple Crown. In 2012 Camelot came into the St Leger with a chance of being the first horse since Nijinsky to win the Triple Crown, only to be beaten by Encke by less than a length.

With no sign of the runners or the odds at the time of writing we can’t give any pointers, but be sure to come back in the week before this one (and each of the Classics) for our in-depth previews and betting tips.

In the meantime, whichever race you’re betting on, be sure to make use of the many free bets and racing-specific bookmaker offers to be found on this site.