The Five India Classic Horse Races

Published 2021/09/21

The Five India Classic Horse Races

Many of us will already be familiar with the five British Classics, which are amongst the most historic races in the annual flat-racing calendar. They include the 2,000 Guineas Stakes and 1,000 Guineas Stakes held at Newmarket, The Oaks and The Derby held at Epsom Downs, concluding with the St Leger Stakes at Doncaster. But did you know that India also hosts its very own version of these ‘Classic’ races, aimed at emulating their British counterparts? Horse racing in India enjoys a rich history and strong traditions, thanks to a thriving race industry which first blossomed in the British Colonial era. The first thoroughbred racecourse appeared back in 1777, established in Madras.

India actually boasts a strong reputation for breeding thoroughbred horses, although many stallions are imported from all around the world. However, not everyone is familiar with the five biggest races or indeed, when and where they are held each year. For that reason, let’s jump in the saddle and take a closer look at these five Indian Classics.

The Indian 1,000 Guineas

Organised by the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC), the Indian 1,000 Guineas takes place at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse in Mumbai. Traditionally regarded as the curtain-raiser to the winter racing season, this group 1 race is always held on a Saturday in December, usually in the late afternoon or early evening. Only fillies aged three years can enter this race, which is run over a course which stretches around 1,600 metres in length.

The Indian 2,000 Guineas

Always run over the same weekend as Indian 1,000 Guineas, also organised by the RWITC and held at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse in Mumbia, run over the same length at 1,600 metres, the Indian 2,000 Guineas is typically held on the Sunday. This race permits the entry of both colts and fillies and just like all five Indian Classics, this is a group 1 race that is only open to horses born and raised within the Indian sub-continent.

The Indian Oaks

First run during the 1943-44 horse racing season, the Indian Oaks is traditionally held towards the end of January each year, usually on the first Sunday of that month whenever possible. This particular event is open to 4-year-old fillies, run over a distance of one mile and 4 furlongs, once again at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse in Mumbai, which actually hosts four of the five Indian Classics.

The Indian Derby

Run over a course measuring 2,400 metres in length, the Indian Derby us usually held on the first Sunday of February and was first held in 1943. Since then, enjoying a growing reputation both nationally and internationally, this has become the most famous horse racing event amongst racegoers. Hosted at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse in Mumbai, it is widely considered to be the wealthiest horse racie within the sub-continent, which also offers one of the biggest cash prizes of any sporting event in India.

The Indian St Leger

As the only one of the five Indian Classics which isn’t held in Mumbai, the Indian St Leger always attracts large crowds at the Pune Racecourse. Originally named as ‘The Governor-General’s Cup’ when first run between 1944 to 1949, this group 1 race is usually held in late March, featuring 4-year-olds and run over 2,800 metres. This race, accompanied by the excitement it always generates, provides a fitting end to the racing season for fans of this wonderful sport.

Classic Advice for Indian Racing Fans

Given the growing popularity of these five Indian Classics, racing fans and bettors always look forward to each running. Likewise, it always helps to have a great selection of horse racing betting tips to hand from the experts at Asiabet, who also provide honest reviews for the best betting sites for Indian punters.

The team at Asiabet has written extensive guides covering everything you need to know about horse racing, including where to find great bonuses and promotions, along with useful advice about racing and betting terminology. The aim here is that horse racing should be fun and accessible to everyone, which is just what we need ahead of the next Indian Classics.

Whenever planning to bet on any horse races, including the Indian Classics, always do plenty of research and look at all the competing entries. Set out a staking plan and stick to it, because the beauty of racing is that it can often be unpredictable. Most of all, enjoy the atmosphere and excitement of the races themselves, whichever way your betting fortunes go.