Jump races are races that include obstacles for the horse and jockey to jump. These can be small ones known as hurdles or large ones known as fences.
While Jump racing occurs all year round, traditionally it takes place in the Autumn, Winter and Spring. Jump racing’s official name is National Hunt racing, a reference to its origins.
Jump races are a test of stamina and jumping ability and so the horses that take part tend to be older than Flat horses. They look bigger and more developed than the finer, more elegant Flat horses.
Known as hurdlers and chasers, these horses may have run on the Flat in the past or have been bred specifically for Jump racing and bought into training later.
Races are held over a variety of distances from 2 to 4½ miles and under certain conditions with eligibility based on the sex, age or ability of the horse. Some races may be restricted to amateur or less experienced jockeys, known as conditionals.
Examples of jumps races include:
- There are 40 courses in the UK that stage jump racing
- The highlights of Jump racing include the Cheltenham Festival in March and the Grand National Festival in April