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Non Handicap Horse Racing


Non Handicap Horse Racing or condition Racing as it is sometimes called, is Horse Racing where, unlike Handicaps, the weights are not set to as to give each horse an equal chance of winning. Instead the weights each horse is set to carry are determined by certain "conditions" laid down in advance by the racing authorities. These conditions are often stated in the description of the race that is printed on at the top of the card

Examples Of Conditions

The kind of conditions that might apply in a race could be things like:

  • None of the horses must have won a race - this would apply in a maiden
  • Horses which have won 1 race in the last so many months are set to carry an extra 5lb

As should be fairly obvious from the above many of the conditions are fairly obvious. However this is not always the case and there are a number of "querks" best known to the racing authorities who determine what the entrance conditions are to be for the races in question

Examples Of Non Handicap Races

A large number of Non-Handicap or conditions races take place every year both on the Flat and the Jumps. These include:

  • Sellers
  • Claimers
  • Maidens
  • Novice
  • Juvenile
  • Apprentice
  • Ladies
  • NH Flat
  • Conditional Jockeys
  • Hunters
  • Listed Races
  • Group Races
  • Graded Races

Listed Races

A special set of races at the very top of the sport, in terms of difficulty and ability, is Listed Races and Group or Graded Races. The difference between Group and Graded races is that the former applies to the Flat and the latter to Jumps

In the main most Listed and Group/ Graded races are non-handicap or conditions races. Generally speaking most weight allocations are dropped and horses run off their true weights. This is because races at the very top of the sport are about showing the ability of the horses in question, and not about giving horses with less ability any allowance for the fact that their form is less noteworthy. There is some minor adjustment for weight, but the difference between the top weights and the bottom weight is generally insignificant, particularly over the kind of distances the race is run to

Favourites In Non-Handicaps

As a general rule of thumb, more favourites win in non-handicap races than in handicaps. If you are struggling to work out the difference between handicaps and non-handicaps, then simply consult the racing card for the day. Handicaps are always clearly labelled i.e. the word "handicap" will always appear in the name of the race e.g. handicap hurdle as compared with a maiden hurdle

It will also be observed that statistically speaking, more favourites win in jumping races, steeple chases etc than over the flat. This is largely because there is no effect of the draw when racing on the national hunt courses

So overall it is not a bad strategy when at the course for raceday, you take careful note of the declared favourite in non-handicap races. You will probably find a reasonable number of winners from favourites or 2nd favourites

Extra Non Handicap Horse Racing Information

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