UK Horse Racing is run over a multitude of distances ranging from over 5 furlongs to 4 and a half miles. 

Let’s dive straight into all the different lengths a horse race can run over on UK racecourses

Horse races on the flat start at five furlongs for two-year-olds and sprinters up and go up to two and three-quarter miles for stayers.

Here is our guide to the range of distances covered, the top prizes and the t,ype of horse likely to do well in each category:

Five Furlongs

Juveniles start racing over the minimum trip as early as March with the Brocklesby Stakes at Doncaster.

Most will advance to six furlongs in the summer unless they are sprint-bred.

There is little time for tactics in these races with the horses going flat out from the starting gate. The fastest time recorded over five furlongs was 53.69 set by Stone Of Folca in the Epsom Dash in 2012, clocking an average speed of 41.9mph.

Six Furlongs

Six furlongs is regarded as the classic sprint distance and the sprint championship season.

It is also the distance over which the most prestigious sprint handicaps are run including the Wokingham Stakes, Stewards’ Cup, and Ayr Gold Cup. The winners of these valuable handicaps can go on to win Group class sprints. There are also some top-class two-year-old races over six furlongs that provide Classic clues for the following season

Seven Furlongs

Seven furlongs is a distance that falls between two stools. Horses that specialize in this trip tend to be slightly outpaced in sprint races but do not quite last home in mile races. This means that there are limited opportunities at the Group level.

One Mile

One Mile is the distance of the first Classic races for three-year-olds, the 2000 Guineas and 1000 Guineas, and equivalent races around Europe.

One Mile and a Quarter

Although ten furlongs is not a Classic distance in Europe, apart from the French Derby, it does feature some of the most important races of the year.

The winners of the top ten furlong races could earn themselves a tilt at the Breeders’ Cup Classic at the end of the year.

Valuable handicaps over this distance include the John Smith’s Cup at York.

One Mile and a Half

The emphasis switches from speed to stamina at this distance and this is where a knowledge of racehorse pedigree can pay dividends.

A mile and a half is the Classic distance of the Epsom Derby and Oaks and their Irish equivalent.

European runners also excel in the Breeders’ Cup Turf in November.

One Mile and Three-Quarters

A mile and three-quarters are the distance of St Leger, the final Classic of the British turf season.

Two Miles plus

Top races over two miles and beyond on the flat are known as Cup races with the two-and-a-half-mile Ascot Gold Cup remaining the ultimate staying prize.

Popular Questions

How long are horse races on the Flat?

Here are the most common distances for races on the flat:

  • 5f
  • 6f
  • 7f
  • 1m
  • 1m 2f
  • 1m 4f
  • 1m 6f
  • 2m
  • 2m 4f

There are some different distances at various racecourses some have 5-and-a-half furlong races for example.

How long are horse races over the Jumps?

Here are the most common distances for races over the Jumps:

  • 2m
  • 2m 2f
  • 2m 4f
  • 3m
  • 3m 2f
  • 3m 4f
  • 4m 3f

Generally, the national hunt races are long-distance races.

How far is a furlong in horse racing?

A furlong in horse racing is 201 meters in distance.

One furlong is 1/8th of a mile.

One furlong is equivalent to 220 yards or 660 feet in measurements.

A furlong is an imperial and United States Customary systems length unit.

How many furlongs Make 1 mile?

Eight furlongs make one mile in distance.


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