Bumper horse races are one of the oddest quirks of the sport and can lead to confusion for new racing betting punters.
But don’t worry because Paddy Power is here to help bust through the jargon and explain exactly what a bumper horse race is.
First of all we must untangle the terminology around race types. There are two seasons in the UK and Irish racing calendar: National Hunt and Flat. The National Hunt season runs over the winter months and requires horses to jump over fences and hurdles during races. The Flat season takes place during the summer, when the firmer ground makes jumping less comfortable for both horses and jockeys.
However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a crossover between flat and jumps during the season—and this is where bumper races come into play.
BUMPER HORSE RACE EXPLAINED
A bumper race is simply a race without jumps that is run at a National Hunt meet. Horses must be aged seven years or under and must not have raced in a National Hunt meet before (apart from in other bumper races).
The reason for a bumper race is to familiarise horses with running at racecourses without adding the further strain of them needing to jump hurdles or fences. Once a horse has run one bumper they might run more, or progress to jumps. This experience can be vital for a horse’s development.
There are plenty of bumpers staged during the calendar but the best bumper race is at Cheltenham Festival.
The Cheltenham Champion Bumper race is a Grade 1 race that runs just over two miles. It is open to horses aged between four and six years, and was established back in 1992.
HOW TO BET ON A BUMPER RACE
Betting on bumper races is one of the richest sources of upsets you can find in racing betting. That’s because these horses are untested at racecourses and so it’s notoriously hard to predict a winner.
Races can also be fairly slow due to the ‘rookie’ nature of the horses running. And this makes the horse racing odds very difficult to price accurately.
Horse racing betting tipsters therefore tend to take the opportunity to back long-odds horses and hope to unearth a winner from the pack.
BEST CHELTENHAM BUMPER ODDS
Paddy Power is the place to get the best Cheltenham Champion Bumper odds every year of the Festival.
And there are always plenty of upsets in this race! Between 2010 and 2020 just two favourites won the Bumper. Indeed, 2010 saw Cue Card storm to victory at 40/1. The horse would go on to win the King George VI Chase and compete for the Cheltenham Gold Cup.
Retired jockey Ruby Walsh boasts a record three Bumper wins, while Willie Mullins has fielded winners in the race for over two decades.
Discover more in Paddy’s Demystifying Racing series of guides…
- What does it mean when a horse is On the Bridle?
- What is a Black type horse race?
- What are the different types of going in horse racing?
- What are blinkers and why do some horses wear them?
- What is an Allowance Race in horse racing?
- What is the difference between hurdles and fences in National Hunt racing?
- What is the Rule 4 betting rule in horse racing?
- What is a halter and why do some horses wear them?
- What does it mean when a horse has spread a plate?
- What is the difference between graded, handicap and selling horse races?
- What does a novice hurdle in horse racing mean?
- What is a listed horse race?
- What does a novice chase in horse racing mean?
- Why do race horses have different ratings and what do they mean?
- When does the National Hunt season start and when does it end?
- Why are there different grades of horse race?
- Why are there 3 different types of National Hunt race?
- Why are race horses given different weights and what does it mean?
- How many different classes of horse race are there?
- What is a claiming race and what do they mean?
- What is an optional claimer in horse racing?
- What is a shadow roll and why do some race horses wear them?
- Why do some races start from stalls and some not?
- What is the difference between Derby and Oaks races?
- What does it mean when a horse knuckles during a horse race?
- What is a stayer in horse racing?
- What is a yearling horse and when are they ready to race?
- What does it mean if a horse has won a point race?
- What does a maiden mean in horse racing?
- How are horses’ ages calculated and why is it not the same as humans?
- What advantages do apprentice jockeys get when riding against professionals?
- What is a conditional jockey?
- What does the term ‘connections’ mean in horse racing?
- Why do some horses wear cheekpieces?
- Who are the stewards in horse racing?
- What does ‘weighed in’ mean at the end of a horse race?
- What is a nursery race?
- Why are some National Hunt races run without fences?
- Why are some horses given a tongue tie during races?