A bumper is a Flat race run under the rules of Jump racing.
It is designed for horses who have not previously run on the Flat to get experience of racing. Horses who have previously raced in flat races are not eligible to run in bumpers.
You will normally see bumpers run as the last race of the day. Despite being run on the Flat, Bumpers do not use starting stalls. Like other Jump races they are started from behind elasticated tapes that stretch across the racecourse.
What’s in a name?
There are lots of theories as to why they are called bumpers. One is that only conditional & amateur riders were originally allowed to ride in these races. Lacking race experience, horses and jockeys ended up bumping into each other.
- Flat jockeys sometimes take out a Jump jockey’s license to enable them to ride in bumpers.
- The Champion Bumper at the Cheltenham Festival is the most prestigious bumper in Jump racing.
- Flat jockeys to have ridden in the Champion Bumper include Jamie Spencer who won in 2002 on Pizarro.