Racing Explained – Handicapping

Racing Explained - Handicapping

Racing Explained-- Programme 8 - Handicapping

The final programme in the 'Racing Explained' series features Senior National Hunt Handicapper Noel O'Brien who covers the key areas such as: how you handicap a horse, weight for age, early closing handicaps, changing handicap ratings, penalties, the appeals procedure and how the handicapping of Irish horses works when they race in the UK.

The principle of the handicapping system is to create a situation where each horse has an equal chance of winning. The handicapper decides the ability of a horse relative to all other horses in the race.

There are two codes of handicapping: National Hunt and Flat. In National Hunt there are two different types of races: Hurdles, with a minimum of three runs and fences, with a minimum of two runs required before a handicap rating can be allocated.

Some of the biggest handicaps such as the Galway Plate and the Irish Grand National are known as 'early closing handicaps'. These races close two to three weeks in advance of the race to allow punters to bet for longer.

Did you know?
- The principle of handicapping is to ensure every horse has an equal chance of winning
the race.
- Handicap ratings can be seen on
- The handicap rating that an Irish horse carries when competing in the UK is decided
by UK senior handicappers.
- Weight for age is used to equalise a younger horses chances against older horses.