Australian Harness Racing Classes Explained

When assessing harness racing form, having a basic knowledge on what the different classes and grades mean, will go a long way to helping understand how strong a race is and whether certain horses will measure up to that grade. We've explained how the class system works in Australian harness racing below.

Harness racing classes explained

There are three common letters that you will see when looking at a harness racing form guide. They will be:

  • R = Restricted Class Wins
  • C = Career Wins
  • M = Metro Wins

A quick note is that these class levels are for pacers. We will explain later what trotters class levels are.

Based on the number of wins in each respective class, a horse will have their class assessment shown in the form guide. An example may be R4 C2, which means four wins in restricted grade and two in C-class races. Another example is C13 M2, which means 13 career class wins and two metro wins. There is a drop back rule that sees a horse drop a class assessment if they haven’t won after 10 consecutive races. For example, a horse that has lost 20-straight races and was previously a C4, will become a C2-assessed horse after the 20th defeat. Horses cannot drop back to become a C0, so they will drop as far back as a C1. The same applies for R and M class assessments; therefore, a horse that wins a metropolitan race will only ever become an M1 regardless of a long losing streak.

If a horse wins an M-class race, they will also receive a C-class penalty and R-class penalty, due to M-class being higher than C-class and R-class. If a horse wins a C-class race, it will also receive an R-class penalty for the same reason. 

Some examples of classes that you will see for upcoming races are C0, C1-C2, C3-C4, C5+, M0, M1-M2, M3-M4 and M0+. We will analyse a couple of these classes. A C0 race is for horses that have not won a C-class race. A C3-C4 would see horses that are C3 and C4-assessed compete against one another. Fillies and mares receive a concession which means a C5 mare could contest the race. Concession drivers, which are similar to apprentice jockeys, can also claim a class which means a C5 male, or C6 female could enter a C3-C4 race as the driver is claiming a concession. An M0+ is a race for free-for-all pacers, also known as open-class. It means any M-class assessed horse can enter the race, but lower-class horses will likely be balloted from the race for better horses to compete.

Trotters will be distinguishable by the letter T. The classes work in the same way as the pacers, except you will see a T before them. Therefore, example assessments may be TR3, T1, TM0. You may have noticed that the C has been dropped from the middle one, and that is the case. Restricted race wins are TR, career wins are T instead of C and metro wins are TM.

A new ratings-based handicapping system is set to be introduced in July 2019. It has been tailored from the thoroughbred model which was introduced in 2006. Horses will begin their career with a rating of 50. The following matrix shows how many ratings points are added or deducted based on finishing position and race prize money (or stake).

We will provide an update once the new ratings-based handicapping system is in effect to explain how all of the classes work.

--

twitterfacebook

TIPS

South Africa vs Australia T20 Series Betting Tips

South Africa will host Australia in a three match T20 series beginning this Saturday night! We have a full preview and betting picks for the series here read more

Boxing Betting Tips: Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury 2 Preview

Deontay Wilder will square off against Tyson Fury in the rematch for the heavyweight championship of the world this Sunday! We have a full preview and betting tips for the fight here read more

Horse Racing Tips: Wednesday, February 19th

Racing takes place at three of the premier midweek venues this Wednesday, with Sandown Hillside, Kensington and Ascot each hosting meetings. Find our best bets of the day here! read more

2019-20 A-League: Round 20 Preview & Betting Tips

The A-League season continues this weekend with Round 20. As always, we bring you our best bets from the key fixtures, which you can find right here! read more

ARTICLES

What is Lay Betting?

Lay betting is when you’re betting against an event to occur. You’re betting that a horse won’t win a race, a team won’t win a match or your player will lose to their opponent. Find out more about lay betting at Betfair right here. read more


Understanding the Betfair Exchange

Learn the importance of the Betfair exchange for both recreational and professional punters. In this article we take a closer look at how Betfair works and why it often offers a superior product to the traditional online sports betting operators. read more


2019-20 Big Bash League (BBL09) Squads

The 2019-20 Big Bash League season is set to be a thriller! Check out the full squads for the upcoming BBL09 here read more


Understanding Betfair Staking Plans

In the third instalment of our Betfair instructional series, we take a look at understanding staking plans and how they can be used to stay in control of your bank roll read more


BLOGS

2020 AFLW Season Fixture

The 2020 AFLW season is just around the corner and this year will be bigger than ever! See the full fixture for all 8 rounds in the regular season here read more


2019-20 Big Bash League (BBL09) Predicted Lineups

The 2019-20 Big Bash League gets underway on Tuesday, the 17th of December and as many of the teams won't have their full compliment of players available to them on night one, we have compiled a predicted starting XI for all eight teams in the first week of the tournament here read more


BBL09 Team Preview: Sydney Thunder

The Sydney Thunder will be buoyed by the full-time return of star batsman Usman Khawaja this year, but will it be enough to lift them into the finals in BBL09? See our full Sydney Thunder preview here read more


BBL09 Team Preview: Sydney Sixers

The Sydney Sixers are one of the more successful sides in Big Bash League history, having won the title once and made the finals in five of eight seasons. Can they make waves in BBL09? See our full Sixers team preview here read more


Betfair