The majority of tracks are a half mile circuit and as most of the races are run over one mile (approximately two circuits) you get to see the horses and all the action at very close proximity. This is the classic distance most used in harness racing although sometimes races are held over longer distances of up to two miles.
There are permanent and grass tracks located throughout the country and a full list of fixtures can be found here. Some are small local events, whilst others have grown and developed into major festivals attracting competitors from near and far. We are fortunate that the Ceredigion and Tregaron harness racing festivals are two of the most prestigious and richest race meetings in Britain, held in the heart of Wales – here in Ceredigion.
Under British Harness Racing Club (BHRC) rules, horses have to qualify before being eligible to compete in races. This means they have to prove their ability to pace over a mile within a set time and most importantly, show they have gained the experience and control to handle race conditions. Qualifying trials, usually held before the races, make for an interesting spectacle and are great opportunities to watch young horses learning their trade.
Once qualified, a horse begins by competing in maiden races for horses which have yet to win a race. If successful, a horse will begin to move up the Grades according to the prize money it wins. Horses competing in the highest grades, up to Grade 12, are generally the best and most successful horses currently racing in the UK.