When does the National Hunt season start and when does it end?

The National Hunt start date is a big moment in the horse racing betting calendar as the Jump Jockeys Championship gets underway

National Hunt race


National Hunt horse racing is one of the finest sporting codes on show in the UK and Ireland throughout the year.

Watching horses leap over hurdles and fences, their teeth bared and nostrils flaring as they gun for the line, is what keeps horse racing betting punters coming back for more.

But newcomers to horse racing may not be too familiar with what the National Hunt actually is and when is starts! That’s why Paddy Power is here to help, as part of our Demystifying Racing series for new and experienced punters.

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the National Hunt calendar, so you can bet more confidently when checking out the latest race cards in Paddy’s sportsbook!

What is National Hunt in horse racing?

National Hunt racing is a form of horse racing in the UK and Ireland where horses must leap obstacles like fences, hurdles or ditches during a race. This tests the skill of the horse and the jockey as the pair career round the racecourse at breakneck speeds.

The three different types of National Hunt race are hurdles, chases and bumpers.

National Hunt race at Kempton Races

The core National Hunt season runs largely through the winter (GETTY)

National Hunt start date

Jump races are run in the UK and Ireland all year round but the National Hunt season can be said to start and end in line with the Jump Jockeys Championship.

The Jump Jockeys Championship begins at the start of July and runs to Finals Day at Sandown Park towards the end of April the following year.

The reason for defining the National Hunt season with a specific calendar date is so an annual Champion Jockey and Champion Trainer can be recognised.

Some jump races run between the end of April and start of July but these are not considered part of the Championship.

Meanwhile, the autumn Charlie Hall meeting at Wetherby is often seen as the date the racing world puts its full attention behind Nation Hunt meetings.

Chepstow Races National Hunt race

Fences are one of the most notable aspects of many National Hunt races (GETTY)

Famous jump jockey champions

  • AP McCoy – 20 titles
  • Peter Scudamore – 8 titles
  • John Francome – 7 titles
  • Richard Johnson – 4 titles and counting 

How to bet on National Hunt races

If you’re looking for racing betting upsets then National Hunt races are one of the best formats for big-odds wins.

This is because the hurdles and fences horses must overcome during a National Hunt race can cause even the favourite to fall.

Big National Hunt races such as the Grand National, Cheltenham Gold Cup and King George VI Chase are famed for producing long-odds upsets down the years.

And this makes the races particularly attractive for horse racing betting enthusiasts who are seeking to make big gains on their bets.



    What do you think?