There are many fantastic Jump racing events throughout the Jump season, each one steeped in history and always starring the best Jump racing horses in Britain. |
Here is our guide to the main events throughout the season:
Cheltenham- The Open
Haydock Park- Northwest Masters Meeting
Newbury- Hennessey Winter Festival
Newcastle- Fighting Fifth Hurdle
Sandown Park- Tingle Creek Meeting
Ascot- BGC Christmas Long Walk Hurdle Meeting
Kempton Park- William Hill Winter Festival
Chepstow- Coral Welsh National
Ascot- Victor Chandler Chase Meeting
Ascot- Commercial First Ascot Chase Meeting
Cheltenham- The Festival
Aintree- John Smiths Grand National Festival
Ayr- Coral Scottish National
Sandown Park- bet365 Gold Cup
Feature Race: Paddy Power Gold Cup Chase
Date: Mid November
Traditionally the season curtain raiser, The Open represents three days of the best that racing has to offer at the spiritual home of Jumps racing. Experience the Cheltenham roar at one of the biggest and most important meeting of the first half of the Jumps season.
The highlight of the meeting is the Saturday's Paddy Power Gold Cup, a race that has been a high point of the Autumn racing calendar since 1960. Its rich history has seen most of the greatest trainers and jockeys victorious on at least one occasion and it always seems to produce a wonderful finish and celebration to match.
||Northwest Masters Meeting
Course: Haydock Park
Feature Race: Betfair Chase
Date: Mid/Late November
The Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock Park is the highlight of the two-day Northwest Masters meeting shared between Haydock and Aintree.
The race consistently attracts the very best horses staying over 3 miles, and recent winners include the great Kauto Star
||Hennessy Winter Festival
Feature Race: Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup
Date: Last weekend in November
Every year the biggest names in Jump racing descend upon Newbury for the Winter Festival, supported by huge crowds and a special atmosphere.
In 2008 the awesome Denman himself crowned the meeting by triumphing in the famous Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup on the Saturday. This great day of racing also features the Grade 1 Long Distance Hurdle, which counts the incomparable Inglis Drever amongst its recent winners.
||Fighting Fifth Meeting
Feature Race: Fighting Fifth Hurdle
Date: Last Saturday in November
The Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle, in association with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, is the highlight of the National Hunt Season at Newcastle Racecourse.
The race brings top quality hurdlers to the North East every year and is a highlight day of racing.
||Tingle Creek Meeting
Course: Sandown Park
Feature Race: The Seasons Holidays Tingle Creek Chase
Date: First Saturday in December
The Seasons Holidays Tingle Creek Chase is a Grade 1 race named in honour of one of the greatest two-mile chasers ever and traditionally is perceived as an important test for horses hoping to star at this distance later in the season at Cheltenham. The list of previous winners includes such greats as Desert Orchid, Moscow Flyer and Kauto Star.
The meeting is a wonderfully festive day out for all the family and provides a great excuse for a Christmas party with a difference. Activities include sleigh rides, a Santa's Grotto, Christmas Stalls, an ice rink, mince pies and mulled wine, and what better way to round off the festivities than to sing along to Christmas favourites with a top choir after the racing?
||BGC Long Walk Hurdle Christmas Meeting
Feature Race: BGC Long Walk Hurdle
Date: Last Saturday before Christmas
The Saturday of the BGC Long Walk Hurdle meeting is Ascot's most valuable day of Jumps racing, featuring the Grade 1 £100,000 BGC Long Walk Hurdle and the £150,000 "Ladbroke", Europe's richest handicap hurdle.
The Long Walk is Ascot's highest quality hurdle race, and was conquered 4 times the famous Baracouda, one of the all time greats of Jumps racing.
Off the track join in the festive fun and meet Father Christmas himself in the Winter Wonderland.
||William Hill Winter Festival
Course: Kempton Park
Feature Races: William Hill Christmas Hurdle & William Hill King George VI Steeple Chase
Date: Boxing Day
The William Hill Winter Festival comprises two days of fantastic racing on the lovely course at Kempton Park, including the jewel of the Boxing Day races - The Grade 1 King George VI Steeplechase.
The King George is one of the most prestigious races in the Jumps calendar and always attracts the absolute cream of racing. Previous winners of the race reads like a Who's Who of Jumps, including Arkle, Desert Orchid (x4), See More Business (x2), Best Mate, Kicking King (x2) and of course Kauto Star.
This special day of racing also features the Grade 1 William Hill Christmas Hurdle.
||Coral Welsh National Meeting
Feature Race: Coral Welsh National
Date: Last Saturday of the year
Chepstow is the home of the Coral Welsh National, Wales' most prestigious and lucrative race and the Welsh equivalent of the great Grand National at Aintree. Thousands of spectators will descend upon the course to witness one of the most exciting and often heart-stopping races in the Calendar.
Often seen as a good indication for strong runners at the Aintree National, previous winners have often gone on to taste success in the great race including Corbeire and the phenomenal Earth Summit, who also triumphed in the Scottish equivalent.
||Victor Chandler Chase Meeting
Feature Race: Victor Chandler Chase
Date: Mid January
The Victor Chandler chase is one of the newest Grade 1 races on the Jumps calendar. Often seen as the litmus test for the Queen Mother Champion Chase it always attracts the finest 2m chasers.
Always a great day out at the wonderful Ascot course the Victor Chandler Chase meeting is by far January's highlight meeting.
||Commercial First Ascot Chase Meeting
Feature Race: Commercial First Ascot Chase
Date: Mid February
Kauto Star is just one in a string of illustrious winners of this top Grade 1 race, including One Man, Teeton Mill, Tiutchev, Our Vic and Monet's Garden in the last decade.
The Ascot Chase is the last big Grade 1 race before Cheltenham, and what better way to spend Valentines weekend than watching the worlds best horses competing at one of the most romantic of racing settings!
Feature Races: Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase, Ryanair Chase, Ladbrokes World Hurdle, Totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase
Date: Early-Mid March
The roar of the crowd as the tapes rise for the first race of the Festival each year tells you everything you need to know - 12 months of waiting for the pinnacle of Jump racing is over! It is every owner, trainer and jockey's dream to have a winner at the Cheltenham festival, and this is your chance to witness the ultimate in Jumps racing.
The feature race on Tuesday is The Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle, the most sought after prize anywhere for 2 mile hurdlers.
Wednesday sees the Seasons Holidays Queen Mother Champion Chase take centre stage, as the best two mile chasers produce a fast and furious contest over the famous Cheltenham fences. For many, this is the most exciting race of the year.
Thursday is the famous Ladies day, and also the day the long distance hurdlers contest The Ladbrokes World Hurdle where only the brave and the strong prevail. Recent winners include the incredible Inglis Drever made history by winning the 3 mile race for the third time in 2008. Thursday also features the Grade 1 Ryanair chase.
Then comes Friday and the highlight of the entire Jump season: the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup. Denman led home Kauto Star and Neptune Collognes in a Paul Nicholls-trained 1-2-3 in 2008 and will be looking to add his name in 2009 to those of legends Golden Miller, Arkle and Best Mate as multiple winners of Jumping's Blue Riband event. 2009 expects to see stablemates Kauto and Denman once again battling it out for the most prestigious race in Jumps.
Cheltenham truly is the highlight of the Jumps season, make sure to book early to avoid missing out on this great event!
||John Smiths Grand National Festival
Feature Race: John Smiths Grand National
Date: First Weekend in April
The John Smith's Grand National is the most famous and most valuable Steeple Chase in the world. There is nothing quite like that sensation of the heart-clutching expectation as the 40-strong field are persuaded into line, ready to tackle the first of the thirty fences
Held on the Saturday of a top class three day meeting, It's the time when even your granny has a flutter, and for those visiting Aintree during the meeting it's time to experience something really special. There truly is no spectacle like this in the entire Jumps racing calendar.
Also on the Saturday at Aintree you can watch the Grade 1 John Smiths Aintree Hurdle, while the Friday hosts the John Smiths Melling chase, a top Grade 1 2m4f event.
||Coral Scottish National Meeting|
Feature Race: Coral Scottish National
Date: Mid April
The two day Coral Scottish Grand National Festival is Scotland's richest jumps meeting and the home of the Scottish equivalent of the Grand National chase.
Crowds of more than 20,000 will descend on Ayr for one of the most exciting spectacles in racing with 28 of the country's top long distance chasers battling it out over four miles and half a furlong of the famous Ayr track.
Some of the greatest names in horse racing - both human and equine - have won the race and people come from all over the UK and Ireland to attend the meeting where the atmosphere is electric.
||bet 365 Gold Cup Saturday
Course: Sandown Park
Feature Race: bet365 Gold Cup Chase
Date: Last weekend in April
The bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown Park has always held a special place as the last big race of the National Hunt season - staged as part of a mixed Jumps/Flat raceday which symbolises the transition from winter to summer.
This popular and exciting raceday has an end-of-season party atmosphere, especially with the recent introduction of an awards ceremony to honour the top performers of the jumps season.
The big race, won last year by veteran Monkerhostin, offers a final opportunity for the top staying chasers to prove their courage and class over three miles and five furlongs around Sandown's famous course.
The atmosphere is always electric as the horses battle up the final hill to the winning post and it is no surprise that Sandown is regularly voted one of Britain's top racing venues.