National Hunt Racing

If you are looking for the best National Hunt jump horse racing events we have you covered.

Horse racing with jumps holds some of the biggest horse racing events in the world. It gets its name from the days when races were run from church steeple to church steeple in the English and Irish countryside – hence the name Steeplechase! This form of racing has a long history.

In National Hunt racing, commonly known as jumps racing, racehorses are required to jump obstacles over distances ranging from two miles to more than four and a quarter miles.

The two main types of National Hunt jump racing are hurdles and fences. The hurdle races are smaller obstacles and horses usually start hurdling before taking on the larger obstacle fences (chasing events).

With some of the most exciting horse racing festivals like the Cheltenham Festival, Aintree Festival held at the famous Aintree Racecourse and Punchestown Festival it is no surprise horse racing fans are researching the jump racing calendar.

In our National Hunt Season guide, we explain when the jump season starts and when the jump season ends with every horse racing jumps events listed.

Find out more about jump racing:

National Hunt Racing in the UK

Throughout the winter months, the flat season takes a break (apart from all-weather racing) and jump racing takes place and takes centre stage.

Check out our comprehensive guides on the National Hunt Jump Racing Events.

Whilst flat racing is often referred to as The Sport of Kings, jumps racing is called The Sport of Farmers, down to its connection with rural communities.

Jumps racing is hugely popular, mainly because many of the horses return year after year and they become favourites. Often National Hunt horses have much longer careers and therefore build up more of a following – check out our Hennessey Gold Cup winners to see some great examples.

There are some National Hunt flat races, normally these are the last races on a jump racing card, and these are typically for younger horses in the jumps world.

National hunt racing mainly happens in the winter and spring months, from Oct to Apr, although there are some popular summer jumping fixtures, these are a relatively new addition.

Cheltenham is the home of jump racing, whilst other major racecourses which hold meetings include Aintree, Newbury, Wetherby and Sandown.

What Are The Best National Hunt Racing and Jumps Meeting?

There are so many great races and fixtures to choose from but our favourite national hunt races which take place throughout the year are:

  1. The Cheltenham Gold Cup
  2. The King George at Kempton Park
  3. The Grand National
  4. The Champion Hurdle
  5. Queen Mother Champion Chase
  6. The Welsh Grand National
  7. The Stayers Hurdle
  8. Bet365 Gold Cup
  9. The Arkle
  10. Coral Gold Cup

When is the National Hunt Season for Horse Racing with Jumps?

The National Hunt season in Great Britain officially commences on May 1st and continues until late April the following year.

The National Hunt jumps season is split into two periods of time:

Summer Jumping 2022

The National Hunt summer jumping season runs from May until September.

It is a mixture of hurdle, steeplechase races and bumper races.

Winter Jumping 2022

The National Hunt winter jumping season runs from October until April, again it is a mixture of hurdle and steeplechase races.

The winter jumping season generally has the higher-rated horses running because the more prestigious fixtures and races occur. This is also due to the ground conditions being softer and more favourable to most horse racing trainers.

The winter jumping season builds up towards the end of the year when the major national hunt festivals take place:

  • March – Cheltenham Festival – held annually
  • April – Aintree Festival – held annually
  • May – Punchestown Festival – held annually

British Grade 1 National Hunt Races – Jump Racing

Here is a list of all the notable Grade One National Hunt horse races which take place annually in Great Britain, under the authority of the British Horseracing Authority.

The above are the biggest jump races in the National Hunt calendar with the best prize money  – hurdle, bumper races and steeplechase racing.

British Grade 2 National Hunt Races – Jump Racing

Here is a list of all the notable Grade Two National Hunt horse races which take place annually in Great Britain, under the authority of the British Horseracing Authority (the UK governing body).

All of the above jumps race events are very competitive.

British Grade 3 National Hunt Races – Jumps Horse Racing

Here is a list of all the notable Grade Three National Hunt horse races which take place annually in Great Britain, under the authority of the British Horseracing Authority.

Irish Grade 1 National Hunt Races – Jumps Races

Here is a list of all the notable Grade One National Hunt horse races which take place annually in Ireland, under the authority of Horse Racing Ireland (the official racing industry body of Ireland):

  • Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal Racecourse
  • Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse Racecourse
  • Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse Racecourse
  • Hatton’s Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse Racecourse
  • John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Racing Post Novice Chase at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Faugheen Novice Chase at Limerick Racecourse
  • Paddy’s Reward Club Chase at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Savills Chase at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Matheson Hurdle at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Neville Hotels Novice Chase at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Lawlor’s of Naas Novice Hurdle at Naas Racecourse
  • Golden Cygnet Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Dublin Chase at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Arkle Novice Chase at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Tattersalls Ireland Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Dr P. J. Moriarty Novice Chase at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Mares Novice Hurdle Championship Final at Fairyhouse Racecourse
  • Boylesports Gold Cup at Fairyhouse Racecourse
  • Bective Stud Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Punchestown Champion Chase at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Dooley Insurance Group Champion Novice Chase at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Irish Mirror Novice Hurdle at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Punchestown Gold Cup at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Champion INH Flat Race at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Punchestown Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Barberstown Castle Novice Chase at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Punchestown Champion Hurdle at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Alanna Homes Champion Novice Hurdle at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Punchestown Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown Racecourse

The above are the biggest jump races in the Irish National Hunt calendar – hurdle and steeplechase racing.

Irish Grade 2 National Hunt Races – Jumps Races

Here is a list of all the notable Grade Two National Hunt horse races which take place annually in Ireland, under the authority of Horse Racing Ireland.

  • Gowran Park Champion Chase at Gowran Park Racecourse
  • WKD Hurdle at Down Royal Racecourse
  • Skymas Chase at Down Royal Racecourse
  • Lismullen Hurdle at Navan Racecourse
  • Fortria Chase at Navan Racecourse
  • Clonmel Oil Chase at Clonmel Racecourse
  • Craddockstown Novice Chase at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Florida Pearl Novice Chase at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Navan Novice Hurdle at Navan Racecourse
  • Lombardstown Mares Novice Chase at Cork Racecourse
  • Hilly Way Chase at Cork Racecourse
  • Dorans Pride Novice Hurdle at Limerick Racecourse
  • Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Dawn Run Mares Novice Chase at Limerick Racecourse
  • Sporting Limerick 4yo Hurdle at Limerick Racecourse
  • Coolmore Mares Novice Chase at Thurles Racecourse
  • Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park Racecourse
  • Moscow Flyer Novice Hurdle at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Horse & Jockey Hotel Chase at Thurles Racecourse
  • Coolmore NH Sires Mogul Mares Novice Chase at Thurles Racecourse
  • Goffs Future Stars I.N.H. Flat Race at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Coolmore Irish EBF Mares I.N.H. Flat Race at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Boyne Hurdle at Navan Racecourse
  • Ten Up Novice Chase at Navan Racecourse
  • Red Mills Chase at Gowran Park Racecourse
  • Johnstown Novice Hurdle at Naas Racecourse
  • Webster Cup Chase at Navan Racecourse
  • Rathbarry & Glenview Studs Hurdle at Fairyhouse Racecourse
  • Festival Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse Racecourse
  • Dunboyne Castle Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse Racecourse
  • Devenish Chase at Fairyhouse Racecourse
  • Donohue Marquees Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse Racecourse
  • Glencarraig Lady Francis Flood Mares Chase at Punchestown Racecourse

Irish Grade 3 National Hunt Races – Jumps Races

Here is a list of all the notable Grade Three National Hunt horse races which take place annually in Ireland, under the authority of Horse Racing Ireland.

  • Grimes Hurdle at Tipperary Racecourse
  • Ballybrit Novice Chase at Galway Racecourse
  • Kilbegnet Novice Chase at Roscommon Racecourse
  • Joe Mac Novice Hurdle at Tipperary Racecourse
  • Istabraq Hurdle at Tipperary Racecourse
  • Like A Butterfly Novice Chase at Tipperary Racecourse
  • Buck House Novice Chase at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Irish Daily Star Chase at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Poplar Square Chase at Naas Racecourse
  • Down Royal Mares Novice Hurdle at Down Royal Racecourse
  • Cork E.B.F. Novice Chase at Cork Racecourse
  • Fishery Lane Hurdle at Naas Racecourse
  • For Auction Novice Hurdle at Navan Racecourse
  • Monksfield Novice Hurdle at Navan Racecourse
  • Bar One Racing Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse Racecourse
  • Klairon Davis Novice Chase at Navan Racecourse
  • Cork Stayers Novice Hurdle at Cork Racecourse
  • Leopardstown E.B.F. Mares Hurdle at Leopardstown Racecourse
  • Savills New Year’s Day Chase at Tramore Racecourse
  • John and Chich Fowler Memorial Mares Chase at Fairyhouse Racecourse
  • Limestone Lad Hurdle at Naas Racecourse
  • Naas Racecourse Business Club Novice Chase at Naas Racecourse
  • Killiney Novice Chase at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse Racecourse
  • Mercedes-Benz Novice Hurdle at Clonmel Racecourse
  • Flyingbolt Novice Chase at Navan Racecourse
  • Red Mills Trial Hurdle at Gowran Park Racecourse
  • Quevega Mares Hurdle at Punchestown Racecourse
  • Michael Purcell Novice Hurdle at Thurles Racecourse
  • Newlands Chase at Naas Racecourse
  • Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse Racecourse
  • Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse Racecourse
  • Kingsfurze Novice Hurdle at Naas Racecourse
  • Naas Directors Plate Novice Chase at Naas Racecourse
  • Limerick E.B.F. Mares Novice Hurdle at Limerick Racecourse
  • Native Upmanship Novice Chase at Thurles Racecourse
  • Hugh McMahon Novice Chase at Limerick Racecourse
  • Imperial Call Chase at Cork Racecourse
  • Weatherbys Ireland EBF Mares Bumper at Punchestown Racecourse
  • An Riocht Chase at Killarney Racecourse

What Is National Hunt Racing?

In horse racing in the United Kingdom, France and the Republic of Ireland, National Hunt racing requires horses to jump fences and ditches. It requires horses with good jumping ability and is ran on turf tracks. The Cheltenham Festival is the biggest of all the jumps races meets held annually in March.

National Hunt racing in the UK is informally known as “jumps” and is divided into two major distinct branches: hurdles and steeplechases.

Alongside these, there are “bumpers”, which are National Hunt flat races.

In a hurdles race, the horses jump over obstacles called hurdles.

In a steeplechase, the horses jump over a variety of obstacles that can include plain fences, water jumps or an open ditch.

In the UK the biggest National Hunt events of the year are generally considered to be the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Classification of Horse Racing With Jumps

Horse racing with jumps come in many different formats.

From distances varying from two miles to more than four and a quarter miles, there is a distance to suit quick horses to your stayers.

Races run under the rules of National Hunt racing take place over distances ranging from 2 miles (3200m) to 4.5 miles (7200m)

But apart from the jumps race distance, there are also different divisions from novices to the best jumpers in the world.

Various classifications of horse racing with jumps include:

  • Maiden races (for non-winners)
  • Novice races (for inexperienced horses)
  • Handicap races (with a notional level playing field through the implementation of added weight)
  • Graded contests (same weight championship races)

What is a novice race in horse racing with jumps?

Novice races are designed exclusively for horses who are racing in their first season over hurdles or fences, they have limited jumps experience rather than jumping ability.

A novice in horse racing is an inexperienced racehorse which has not run in a certain number of races of a particular type or for those who have never won a race in that sphere.

The definition of a novice is determined by the horse racing authority in a particular country or area.

What is a Grade 1 National Hunt race?

A grade one national hunt race is the highest level.

Horses compete off the same weight (but with allowances for age or gender) and the best jump racehorses compete in Grade Ones.

Every single major race in the calendar has a Class 1 status.

Grade 1 national hunt racing events include amazing races like the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle.

What is a Grade 2 National Hunt race?

Grade two national hunt races are the second tier of jump racing.

Grade 2 races are directly below Grade 1 under the authority of the British Horseracing Authority or authority of Horse Racing Ireland.

Grade 2 horses have aspirations of becoming Grade 1 horses or at least their owners and trainers do.

What is a Grade 3 National Hunt race?

Grade 3 national hunt races are lower grades than grade one or grade two races.

Although a grade three race might on paper be seen as a lower grade it still has plenty of quality, excitement and large prize money payouts.

Grade 3s are traditionally handicap races where the official rating of the horse determines the weight is has to carry.

Many horse racing fans enjoy handicapped races because it leaves the race wide open and if the handicapper did his job correctly every single horse should be the same betting odds to win the race.

What is a Hurdle race?

A Hurdle race is a horse race where the horses jump over obstacles called hurdles.

Hurdles are the smallest of obstacles that a horse will be asked to negotiate.

Hurdles are smaller than fences and are a minimum of three and a half feet high.

A hurdle jump is typically made of a series of panels made of brush and is flexible.

The primary objective for any racehorse jumping a hurdle is to be fast, low, slick and efficient.

What is a Chase or Steeplechase race?

A steeplechase, more commonly known as a chase, is a race run over fences.

Steeplechase races jump over a variety of obstacles that can include plain fences, water jumps or open ditches.

Chases are larger obstacles, with horses usually more experienced when asked to negotiate such obstacles.

Amateur steeplechases – not run under the rules of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) – are referred to as Point-to-Points.

Steeplechases are run over distances that range between two miles (3200m) to 4.5 miles (7200m).

What is a National Hunt Bumper Race?

A national hunt bumper race is a flat race run under the rules of jump racing.

Commonly known as bumpers, these are for horses bred for jump racing.

No obstacles are jumped and the races are seen as a building block for young and inexperienced horses who have a future career over hurdles or fences.

Horses that have run on the Flat previously are eligible for bumpers, and Flat jockeys (holding a dual licence) have been known to take mounts in such races.

Popular Questions

When does the jump season end?

The Jump Jockeys Championship is decided on winners in National Hunt races from May 2022 to April 2023.

The National Hunt season finishes at the end of April 2023 and the Flat Racing season starts.

How long does the jump season last?

The National Hunt jump season lasts 12 months.

This surprises some horse racing fans because the majority of the National Hunt fixtures take place in the Autumn and Winter months.

The bigger national hunt season fixtures tend to be around February to April as including the biggest jump festivals like Cheltenham, Punchestown and Grand National events.

Summary of National Hunt Racing Events

As a horse racing fan if National Hunt Racing is your preferred race over Flat Racing we have covered all jump races in 2022.

We regularly update the National Hunt Racing Calendar with the betting odd, latest tips and any free bets the leading online bookmakers have on offer.

The betting sites provide special welcome bonuses usually for the big National Hunt Festivals like these listed:

Jump Racing Festivals

Here are the biggest horse racing festivals for National Hunt jump racing.

National Hunt Horse Racing Jump Races

Check out all the major jump horse racing events held in the National Hunt season.

Searches Associated With National Hunt Racing

  • Irish National Hunt Racing Events 2022
  • Grade 1 National Hunt Racing Events 2022
  • Grade 2 National Hunt Racing Events 2022
  • Grade 2 National Hunt Racing Events 2022
  • National Hunt Racing Festivals 2022

As the Founder of British Racecourses, I have a life-long passion for horse racing and have loved the sport as long as I can remember. I am also a keen racehorse owner and have worked in the gambling industry for several years. I set up British Racecourses with the desire to share my passion for racing with other like-minded people.