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There are three types of race in British horse racing: flat, jumps and bumpers. In flat racing there are no obstacles and horses do not jump, but race on the level. The races are typically shorter than jump races and range from sprints to staying races. The major flat races are the five classics for which only horses aged three are eligible. Flat races begin from starting stalls which mean each horse begins the race from the same starting position.
Flat racing takes place on turf from March to November in Britain and on all-weather tracks throughout the year. The races range in distance from five furlongs to over two miles five furlongs, but the majority of races are run over less than two miles. The most prestigious flat races are the classics for horses aged three which are as follows:
The other major flat meetings are at Royal Ascot, York and Goodwood. There are six all-weather tracks in Britain which predominantly stage racing over the winter, but there are meetings throughout the rest of the year. The major international flat races are the Dubai World Cup, Breeders’ Classic and Melbourne Cup.
The longest flat race in Britain is the Queen Alexandra Stakes, which is run at Ascot in June and the race distance is two miles, five furlongs and 143 yards.