Racing News Blog


The National Hunt Season


The National Hunt season pretty much runs all year round bar a week here and there, however the season “proper” starts at Chepstow early to mid October, which is when the Winter jump horses come out to race, this meeting at the beginning of October really marks the start of the Jumps season proper. The big Flat Turf tracks will convert back to jump meetings and flat racing during this period is done abroad or on the All weather surface in the UK.  

Cheltenham, the home of National Hunt racing hosting their first meeting, the Showcase Meeting at the end of October, this period is the cross over period from Summer to Winter jumps and the end of the Flat Turf season.  

Wetherby host a good meeting which includes the Charlie Hall Chase at the End of October/ start of November which is one of the first times we will see some of the big guns, the graded runners out running over 3 miles as they make their campaigns for Gold Cup success at the festival later in the season. Cheltenham’s next meeting is the November meeting and there is a Big meeting at Haydock park which hosts the Betfair Chase, both meetings run in the middle or towards the end of that month.

The Betfair Chase is run over 3 miles 1 & a half furlongs which is the first of the big treble million pounds bonus, the other two races being the King George on Boxing day at Kempton and the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.  So if a horse wins all three races connections will receive a million pound bonus. 

Newbury will host the Ladbrokes Trophy at the end of November, The Ladbrokes Trophy formerly known as the Hennessy Gold Cup is a tough race over 3 miles and 1 furlong, won by previous Gold Cup and Grand National winners, most recently Native River and to name a few others in recent years, names such as Many Clouds, Bobs Worth and the legend Denman.  

On the same day Newcastle host the Fighting Fifth Hurdle which is a Grade 1 warm up for the Champion Hurdle at the festival. 

The Betfair Tingle Creek Chase meeting at Sandown is in December with the main race the Tingle Creek being run over 2 miles.  

Aintree will also open the gates for the Becher Chase which is run over nearly 3 miles 2 furlongs over the Grand National fences. This race is normally used as a prep race for potential English Grand National runners later in the season.  

Cheltenham have a meeting mid-December called the International Meeting, then we go into a very busy Christmas period.  

The two weeks over Christmas is often a cracking period to trade, plenty of racing going on with bumper days on Boxing day and New Years day If you like a drink and you are not suffering too badly from a hangover that is, if you have been celebrating over the festive period! 

Ascot has a good card in December just before Christmas with the feature race being the long walk hurdle. The biggest race of the Christmas period is on Boxing day at Kempton, namely, the King George Chase which is run over 3 miles and whilst it is a very different track to Cheltenham, some horses have gone on to win the Gold Cup at the festival after winning the King George.  

We also have the Kauto Star Novices Chase, Christmas and Juvenile Hurdles and then the Coral Welsh Grand National at Chepstow. 

New Year’s Day offers a cracking day of racing which includes a meeting at the home of racing that is Cheltenham.  

Then later in the month Ascot have a big race day and then we get the Cheltenham trials meeting. The hype slowly starts to build for the festival during the new year as Ascot host another good race day with the Betfair Ascot Chase, offering one of the last warm ups for the big race at The Festival. 

Whilst there are several smaller meetings around The Festival including the Imperial Cup in early March at Sandown, The Festival takes the main stage in March, it is the world cup of jump racing. The festival hosts one of if not the biggest races of the racing calendar that is the Gold Cup and whilst the Grand National always captures the general public’s imagination every year the Gold Cup is for the jumps’ purists. The buzz around this meeting is huge and rightly so, it’s an amazing spectacle for all National Hunt fans. The day after the festival Uttoxeter host the Midlands Grand National. 

The English Grand National Meeting is at the start of April with the National the obvious spectacle where 40 horses race over the 4 miles at Aintree. Some festival runners will also run here but some horses will dodge the festival to run here so will come into it fresher.  It is a different type of track to Cheltenham so some trainers might opt for Aintree instead for some of their big runners.

Ayr will host the Scottish Grand National in this month and the Punchestown Festival is normally at the end of April. 

The Jumps season traditionally ends at the end of April at Sandown and this is where the Champion Jockey will pick up their trophy. They normally have a short break of a few days and then the Summer Jumps start. So, the Summer Jumps races are included in the year’s stats for Champion trainer and jockey. During the Summer, the big tracks that host both jumps and flat are dominated by flat racing, smaller jumps tracks are used for Summer jumping.  During the Summer jumps period The Galway Festival is a big meeting in Ireland.  

So that is a brief insight into the jumps season over the coming months, there are many other smaller meetings throughout the next 7 months that have some cracking races to trade. It is a great period to trade and a great time to learn to trade, whilst the summer period is not a bad time to learn with so much racing on, the winter jumps races in general from my experience of teaching are easier to grasp for new traders. 

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Good luck & stay green.