The Classics as they are known are the features races on the UK horse racing flat calendar with the top colts and fillies taking each other on for riches that go well beyond the actual prize money of the races as the real money is in the stud valuations.
The first classic is in May at Newmarket with the 2000 and 1000 Guineas which are for 3 year olds and is run over the 1 mile course. Next up is the Derby and Oaks at Epsom in the first week of June and is run over the 1 mile 4 furlong distance. The final classic is the St Leger which is quite unique at it is run over a distance of 1 mile 6 furlongs at the Doncaster racecourse.
The 1000 Guineas is the first classic of the season and takes place at the home of Flat racing Newmarket. The contest pitches the top 3 year old fillies in this one mile contest with in recent years the race going to outsiders. This contest comes at the beginning of the season and many of the runners may not yet be fully wound up for the season. Usually one looks to the likes of Aiden O'Brien or Michael Stoute for these big winners and this is probably as good a place to start in your search for this years winner.
The feature race on the two day card is the 2000 Guineas which is for 3 year old colts and this is one of the key races for the season as it is the best trial for the Derby even though it is run over four furlongs less than the 2000 Guineas. Aiden O'Brien really targets this race each year and has picked it up in recent seasons with Henrythenavigator and George Washington.
The Epsom Derby is the regarded as the top 3 year old race for colts in the World run over the Epsom Downs over the 1 mile 4 furlong distance. The best form guide for the race is the 2000 Guineas even though it is a race run over half a mile less in distance. Every top trainer sets out his top colts to try and peak for this race and for this reason many find it difficult to attain the same standard over the remainder of the flat season. This race tends to be won by a fancied runner as most punters latch onto the market moves of the big trainers in the weeks running up to the race and they are usually proved right.
The Epsom Oaks is the other feature race over the Derby weekend and is the fourth classic of the season. It has all the same race conditions as the Derby except that it is for the Girls. The 1000 Guineas is one of the key form guides to establishing the pecking order for the race.
The final Classic of the season is the ST Leger and is staged at the Doncaster racetrack late in the season. It is the longest race of all the Classics as it is run over 1 Mile 6 furlongs, two furlongs more than the Derby. As you can imagine it is the race which requires the most amount of Stamina and many of the contestants are trying this distance the first time and as such there is a little guess work involved for the punter. In addition, the race is run late in the season and the ground can be softer than most horses are used to.