So how are different races categorised? Below are the main types of race in New Zealand.
- Group - These are the very top echelon of races which are divided into Group 1 (the very best races including the Classics), Group 2 (just below championship standard) and Group 3 (often attracting quality horses, many of which are trials for Group 1 and 2 races).
- Listed - Just below Group races, these are designed to identify racehorses of superior merit but below Group Standard.
- Handicap - A race in which the weight each horse is to carry is individually allotted by the official NZTR handicapper who adjusts the weights according to past performance - the goal being to give all horses in a raced a theoretically equal chance of winning. Handicap races typically have a larger number of runners than Group or Listed races and often the barrier draw (what side of the track it starts from) can make a difference to the horse's chances.
- Maiden - A race for horses who have not yet won a race. A racehorse can earn a very reasonable living for its connections and still remain a maiden, racking up plenty of place prizemoney.
Flat Races vary in distance and depending on a horse's breeding it is suited to one type of distance over another. One of the key signs of a champion racehorse is one that can win over a wide range of distances. Below are the main categories of distance.
||1,000m - 1,500m
||1,800m - 2,400m