All Jump races - Hurdles and Steeple Chase alike - are divided into Classes and Grades. As a rule all Graded races, Grade 1 - Grade 2 - Grade 3, are classed as Class 1 races. Class 1 races attract the best-trained horses, the staunchest competition and the highest prize funds. The horses are allowed or denied access to the Class 1 races according to their handicap. Only horses with an extremely high handicap rating are permitted to enter into a Class 1 competition, in order to maintain the highest standard of racing. So all Grade Jump races, no matter which Grade, are bound to be excellent.
The differences between Grade 1, Grade 2, and Grade 3 races are very subtle.
Grade 1 Races
Have a handicap system adding extra weight according to the age and sex of the horse only. Previous wins are not taken into the equasion, setting this type of race apart from its lower graded colleagues.
Grade 2 Races
Employ the same 'Weight-for-Age' rules applicable to Grade 1 Races. However, Grade 2 Races also add weight for previous wins; as well as imposing a narrow handicap range on some events.
Grade 3 Races
Are valuable open handicaps, meaning the weight added to a horse's load is determined by its handicap ranking only.
Allow us to repeat again: All Graded races are part of the highest order of National Hunt/Jump races, and are sure to thrill you. The prizes vary from grade to grade, the higher the grade the more valuable the purse; but the horses are all of the finest breeding and trained in the most outstanding stables. So don't be a grade-snob when you get to the track, you might miss out on some serious action.