Juvenile Hurdle Races added to enhance pathway opportunities for potential new Jump horses

09 Aug 2016 Racing/Fixtures

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has today announced an initiative to support the Juvenile Hurdlers population following concerns raised in the Jump Racing Review.

Four high value Introductory Hurdle races, for horses which have not previously run in more than one hurdle race, will be added to the programme in November and December.

The initiative is aimed to create a pathway for horses who could be introduced into Jump racing following on from their Flat careers. The Racing Department is keen to offer an enhancement to the current programme by offering high value races that will complement the existing Black Type opportunities available. It is hoped this enhanced incentive will encourage Jump connections to purchase Juvenile hurdlers at the sales and encourage owners of Flat horses to consider hurdling as a viable option.

There are several factors which could be contributing to the shortage of runners in Juvenile Hurdle races, including the increased cost of purchasing suitable hurdling candidates from the Flat, to the increase in quality races and prize money available on the All Weather allowing horses to have a prolonged Flat career.

The BHA Development Fund currently contributes £80,000 towards four Juvenile Handicap Hurdle races that are held in the spring and it is hoped that these new races will add further incentive to attract Flat horses and owners into hurdling during the early part of the season. The Development Fund has also approved £8,000 per race to be released towards the four £20,000 Introductory Juvenile Hurdle races.

The Introductory Juvenile Races are as follows:

Date Racecourse
26 November 2016 Newcastle
2 December 2016 Sandown
14 December 2016 Musselburgh
27 December 2016 Kempton


Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer for the BHA, said:

“The decline in the number of juvenile hurdlers over the past decade is a continuing cause for concern. It seems likely that there are a number of factors behind this, not least that as the winter all-weather programme has improved and the demand from overseas buyers remains strong, fewer horses are switching from the Flat to go hurdling. These new juvenile hurdle races have been created to provide some valuable early season targets and the aim is that they will encourage the owners of more above average Flat horses to consider hurdling as an attractive option over the winter.”

Notes to editors:

1. Class 2 Introductory Hurdle races for horses which had not run in more than one hurdle race were successfully introduced to the programme in 2003 with total prize funds of £20,000 per race. The races were well supported until funding was no longer available. A small number of races remain in the programme today at Class 4 level.

2. The Racing Group approved the addition of four high value Introductory Juvenile Hurdle race to the autumn programme for 2016.

3. Juvenile Hurdle statistics:

Season Races Runners AFS
2011/2012 106 918 8.66
2012/2013 96 822 8.56
2013/2014 95 738 7.77
2014/2015 91 767 8.43
2015/2016 93 657 7.06