What is flat racing?

Flat racing is the discipline of horse racing that involves no obstacles. In Britain, Flat races are staged over distances between 5 furlongs and 2 miles 5 furlongs and 143 yards and, in most cases, started from starting stalls to ensure that participants break on level terms. Flat racing includes the most valuable and prestigious races on the British racing calendar, not least the five ‘Classic’ races, namely the 1,000 Guineas, 2,000 Guineas, Derby, Oaks and St. Leger. Indeed, Newmarket Racecourse in Suffolk, which plays host to the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas, is considered the headquarters of British Flat racing.

Of the 59 racecourses on mainland Britain, 19 cater exclusively for Flat racing, while a further 17 offer Flat racing during the summer months and National Hunt racing during the winter. Traditionally, the British Flat racing season started with the Lincoln Handicap Meeting at Doncaster in late March or early April and ended with the November Handicap Meeting at the same course. However, Flat racing on synthetic, or all-weather, surfaces is staged on all bar three days of the year.