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Horse-racing began in the Arab countries many centuries ago. It spread to most European nations by the eighteenth century, and to the United States soon afterwards. In England, the flat racing* season from March to November includes five "Classic" races - designed to test the quality of the year's three-year-old colts and fillies. These Classics are the Two Thousand Guineas and the One Thousand Guineas,** both run at Newmarket;*** the Derby and the Oaks, both run at Epsom; and the St. Leger, at Doncaster. The jumping, or National Hunt season, includes the four-month period when flat racing has its annual break, so that in England the racing programme is continuous throughout the year, with at times as many as fifteen race meetings on one day. The greatest of the National Hunt races, the Grand National, is also recognized as the hardest in the world to win, for it has a considerable variety of obstacles, and also attracts a very large field of runners.

* (As opposed to steeplechase racing which takes place in wmtex and spring. Flat racing is racing over a flat course.)

** (Newmarket - a town in East Anglia noted for horse-races.)

*** (So called because this is the sum of prize money.)

(The Everyday Encyclopaedia for Every Boy and Girl)

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