In recent times jumps fans have been able to enjoy watching and betting on the sport for all twelve months of the year. The advent of summer jumps racing tracks such as Stratford and Uttoxeter offer opportunities for punters to back winners all year round! Sportsbook Guardian regularly has amazing summer jumps racing free bet offers provided by our featured bookmakers, so be sure to check the site out before placing down your wager.
Summer jumps racing is viewed by some with a similar air to all-weather racing, in that it tends to attract a lower class of runner and as such provides a different betting challenge when compared to the top meetings whose form stands up more strongly.
The National Hunt season proper has a traditional curtain raiser in the middle of November with Cheltenham’s Open meeting, and draws to a close with Sandown’s mixed meeting (the event does what it says on the tin, by providing a mixture of jumps and flat racing!).
Major Jumps Racing Meetings
The season revolves around several big meetings, the highlights of which are featured below:
Open Meeting, Cheltenham. The season is launched with this three-day meeting, the jewel in the crown being Paddy Power’s Gold Cup. Traditionalists know the race as “The Mackeson” after the company that sponsored the race from it’s formation in 1960 until 1995. Since 1995 the race has been sponsored by several companies including Murphy’s Stout, and most recently Ireland’s leading bookmaker.
Northwest Masters, Haydock. A quality two day meeting with the major draw being the grade 1 Betfair Chase. The official name is the Lancashire Chase, and for several years everyone’s betting tip was Kauto Star who has won three of the race’s renewals.
Hennessy Winter Festival, Newbury. A real favourite among the betting public, this weekend features The Hennessy Gold Cup. Arkle, One Man and Denman have all tasted victory over the three miles and the meeting always throws up some Cheltenham betting tips for the following spring’s main event!
Fighting Fifth Hurdle, Newcastle. Top quality hurdlers encamp at Newcastle at the end of each November. It always provides pointers for the Cheltenham betting market on the Champion Hurdle. The last three winners of the Fighting Fifth have either won the race (Punjabi), started favourite (Go Native) or finished second (Peddlers Cross).
Tingle Creek Meeting, Sandown. A quality meeting, highlighted by the Tingle Creek Chase, an event that always provides some tips for the Cheltenham betting market, with recent winners being Festival Superstars Kauto Star and Master Minded. The three railway fences always provide a test of balance and composure and tend to ensure that the cream of jumpers invariably rises to the top.
Long Walk Hurdle Meeting, Ascot. The meeting is headlined by the Long Walk Hurdle, a Grade 1 event that always provides pointers for the Cheltenham Festival, with four winners of the race taking the World Hurdle in March. I hold particular fond memories of Baracouda’s four victories in this race. In recent times the event has been run at Newbury (due to weather) and Windsor when Ascot was closed for refurbishment.
Winter Festival, Kempton. Amongst the racing public there are three big chasing races in the season, the Gold Cup, Grand National, and Boxing Day’s King George. The race provides one of the most important indicators as to the winner of the Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
Many previous winners take both events, most recently Kauto Star in 2007 and Long Run in the 2011 season. Runners that have taken the King George include Desert Orchid, Wayward Lad, One Man, and recently Kauto Star.
Welsh National Meeting, Chepstow. The Welsh National always provides Aintree tips for the following Grand National betting market. Earth Summit won both races in the same season, and both Silver Birch and Bindaree claimed both events in different seasons.
Victor Chandler Chase Meeting, Ascot. The star attraction race is often used as a route to the Queen Mother Champion Chase, and the betting market for Cheltenham is always updated after the race. It should be pointed out that tickets for this meeting are always very competitively priced and if you book online, Grandstand tickets can be picked up for around £15.
Commercial First Ascot Chase, Ascot. The last Grade 1 steeplechase ahead of Cheltenham, useful for punters to try to build up a betting tank for Cheltenham’s Festival! One Man and Teeton Mill are famous popular winners of this event.
Cheltenham Festival, Cheltenham. It doesn’t get any bigger than Cheltenham to jump racing fans. Aficionados of the flat have Royal Ascot, jumps-heads have Cheltenham. In recent years both marquee events have been stretched by an extra day.
Each year thousands of race fans descend on Prestbury Park for the highlight of the jumps racing year. The gambling public will bet £millions on their Cheltenham betting tips and the drinking public will consume thousands of pints of Guinness!
The track is always rammed, and many Irish brogues are heard in the air as a large raiding party always makes the journey across the Irish Sea. Some years the “Cheltenham Craic” is further heightened/lubricated by a clash with St Patricks Day, however the date of the Gold Cup 2012 is the 16th March, and St Patrick Day falls on the 17th in 2012.
We have written a series of pieces about the Festival so have a good look around the site for features on the major races: Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle, World Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase (and others). Of course we also always offer exclusive bookmakers free bets for the Cheltenham Festival, so don’t be a stranger in March!
John Smiths’ Grand National Meeting, Aintree. Three weeks after Cheltenham’s Festival comes the most famous race in the World, the Grand National. Forty horses start out, but at the end of the four and a half miles only one will win! For Grand National betting tips see our mini section on this amazing race. Supporting events include the Aintree Hurdle, and the gala Ladies Day is the place to be seen in the North West!
Scottish Grand National Meeting, Ayr. Over two days Scotland celebrates its National. Ayr is the location of the 4m100yds race, and the purse stands at a whopping £114,000 to the winner. Unlike at Aintree, the race is open to ages five years and above.
Punchestown Festival, Punchestown (Ireland). Ireland’s version of the Cheltenham Festival is stretched over five days and has a similar format to the English version.
Irish Grand National, Fairyhouse (Ireland). Ireland’s Grand National is open to five year olds and above, and races over a quite short trip for a National, the course being only 3m5f’s. The event is steeped in history, having been inaugurated in 1870, and big crowds always turn up for the Easter Monday contest.
Bet365 Gold Cup Saturday, Sandown. The curtain falls on the season proper with the Bet365 Gold Cup, a 3m5 ½f handicap chase, that to many race fans remains in the consciousness as the “Whitbread”. The race is the last big event of the season and carries a prize money purse of £160,000.