163602021 300x207 photoThe five English Classic races are the main ante-post betting races of the flat racing season. They are reserved for three-year-olds with the fillies contesting the 1000 Guineas and Oaks and the colts going for the 2000 Guineas, Derby and St. Leger. Fillies can run in the Derby and the St Leger.

 

The Triple Crown is the 2000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger and the last horse to win all three races was Nijinsky in 1970. Camelot won the first two legs last season but was beaten into second place in the St Leger.

 

1000 Guineas

The 1000 Guineas is for fillies over a distance of one mile at Newmarket in May. In recent seasons the trend has been for the best fillies of the previous year to go straight for the classic without a prep race. The Nell Gwyn Stakes at the Craven meeting can sometimes provide some clues as well as the Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury and the Prix Impudence in France.

Famous winners include Salsabil, Pebbles, Miesque, Hatoof and Bosra Sham.

 

2000 Guineas

The 2000 Guineas is for colts over a distance of one mile at Newmarket in May. As with the fillies, the recent trend has been to go straight for the classic without a prep race. Newmarket’s Craven meeting stages some important trials, none more so than the Craven Stakes. Newbury’s Greenham Stakes is another important trial. The Prix Djebel in France is also worth noting for possible French raiders for the Guineas.

 

Famous winners include Brigadier Gerard, Nijinsky, Dancing Brave, Sea The Stars and Frankel.

 

Derby

The Epsom Derby is still regarded as one of the most important races on the calendar and is staged over a mile and a half in June. There are several key trials including the Dante Stakes at York, the Chester Vase, the Lingfield Derby Trial. The 2000 Guineas is still regarded as one of the most important Derby trials with Camelot winning both races in 2012.

 

Famous winners include Nijinsky, Mill Reef, Shergar, Nashwan, Sea The Stars and Frankel.

 

Oaks

The Epsom Oaks is the fillies’ Derby, over a mile and a half at the June meeting. York’s Musidora Stakes, the Chester Oaks and the Lingfield Oaks are important trials. Although the 1000 Guineas is over a mile, fillies very often go straight from that race to the Oaks.

 

Famous winners include Petite Etoile, Time Charter, Oh So Sharp, Salsabil and Ouija Board.

 

St. Leger

The St Leger has fallen out of favour in recent years as it is run over a distance of one mile and six furlongs in September. The emphasis has been on speed rather than stamina in the breeding industry so the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe has become a more logical target for Derby winners. Of the few that have gone on to run in the St Leger, Shergar was famously defeated in 1981 and Camelot was beaten by Encke in his bid for the Triple Crown in 2012.

 

Famous winners include Nijinsky, Bustino, Dunfermline, Reference Point and Silver Patriarch.