Class is the result of numerous factors. A horse may appear to be the class horse in the field based on its past performances, but if it is unable to use that class in today’s race because it is not in the right condition to do so or have one or more factors against it, then it will not win. There lies the glorious uncertainty of racing however. A horse with class can overcome many factors that will see ordinary horses run down the track while a horse with lots of things in its favour may find that its lack of class will be to its detriment.
Even the great horses of the past such as Phar Lap, Bone Crusher, and Sun line were beaten. Phar lap was beaten in the Melbourne Cup of 1931 after carrying a huge weight and was beaten by a horse he conceded weight to. As the adage goes “weight can stop a train.”
Horses tend to show the greatest improvement at three and four. This natural improvement is reflected in the weight-for-age scale where early in the season, three-year-olds are given a mammoth weight concession over their rivals. It also demonstrates how much improvement in class a three-year-old can make during the course of the season.
Fillies and mares are given an allowance in weight for age races which reflects the fact that the females are not as strong as the males and this allowance is usually bigger during the first half of the season.
It is a fact beyond dispute that the majority of winners of horse races are those which that are racing in the same class as their last race or lower. In other words, winners of races which raced in a higher class than at their previous race are in the majority. Depending on where one obtains a set of statistics from this percentage ranges from 75% or more in favour of those horses that are not rising in class. The best yardstick to use when comparing the last level of the horse’s last race with the race of today is to use the prize money as a guide. It is believed that the higher the prize money, the stronger the class of the race. The flip side of this is that if a horse is dropping in grade. You can certainly avoid a lot of losing bets if you take class into account but this is just one factor of many.