What is a selling race?

In horse racing, a selling race, also known as a ‘selling plate’, or ‘seller’, for short, is a low-grade race in which the winner must be offered for sale at public auction, subject to a minimum bid of £3,200, or more, at the discretion of the racecourse. Aside from the winner, beaten horses in a selling race may be ‘claimed’ for a value specified by the trainer of the horse in question when making the entry for the race.

Selling races can be conditions, or stakes, races, in which horses carry weight according to their age and sex, or handicaps, in which horses carry weight according to their official handicap ratings, as allotted by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Either way, the prize money in selling races is generally poor and, prior to October, 2018, selling races were subject to varying amounts of commission, up to 50% above the minimum bid, from racecourse to racecourse. At that point, in a effort to encourage owners to run their horses in selling races, the BHA capped the maximum commission retained by racecourses at 10% of the sale price.