Race Types

There are number of race types available from sprints to staying races and maidens to Group 1's and every. The language of racing:


Below is a brief glossary of some key terms used in racing you may have been dying to know. Try out these terms with your friends at the track and sound like a real professional.

Handicap race

A race where horses are assigned various weights according to performance in order to equalize the winning chances of each. The allocated weight – e.g. 56 kg - is carried by the horse by totaling the jockey’s weight, saddle and race gear. In NSW handicaps are allocated utilizing the Benchmark system of handicapping

Set weights race

A race in which weights are apportioned to horses according to a pre-published scale either due to number of races previously won, age and sex or a combination of these

Weight for age race

A set weights race in which weights are apportioned to horses solely according to their age and sex. Many of the best Group and Listed events are run at Weight for Age.

MAIDEN: A horse which has not won a race.

Group and listed races

Describes the highest quality races. Group 1 is categorized as the highest level, followed by Group 2, Group 3 and Listed. Also known as Black Type because reference to these races appears in sales catalogues in bold typeface. Horses with Black Type in their pedigrees are more highly regarded and carry greater value at sale or when used for breeding. Some of the top Group 1 races conducted over the Sydney Autumn Carnival and their category type are:


Track Ratings

All racetracks are given a rating and scale (from 1-10) on the day of a meeting to describe their condition. The ratings are as follows:


  • FIRM 1 Dry, hard track
  • FIRM 2 Firm track
  • GOOD 3 Track with good grass coverage and cushion
  • GOOD 4 Track with some give in it
  • SOFT 5 Track with a reasonable amount of give in it
  • SOFT 6 Moist but not badly affected track
  • SOFT 7 More rain-affected track that will chop out
  • HEAVY 8 Rain-affected track that horses will get into
  • HEAVY 9 Wet track getting into a squelchy area
  • HEAVY 10 Heaviest category track - very wet, towards saturation



Races vary in distances, and depending on the horses pedigree, it is usually suited to a typical distance over another. The main categories of distance are:


  • Sprints 1,400m or less
  • Mile 1,600m
  • Middle Distance 1,800m to 2,400m
  • Staying More than 2,400m