You might not realise it but every professional sport in the world has some form of young competition in order to develop the next generation of stars. Whether it be football, cricket or kabaddi, the education and development of elite athletes starts young.
And it’s the same in horse racing. A juvenile in horse racing is a term used for a young horse that is just starting out in the world of competitive racing – and there’s plenty to learn if you want to master the art of racing betting on juvenile horses.
In our latest Demystifying Racing guide, Paddy Power is here to show you how to spot a juvenile race and what they’re really all about.
What is a juvenile in horse racing?
In horse racing, ‘juvenile’ is a term used for horses that are either two years old in Flat races, or three years old in the National Hunt. The term signifies that the horses are young and inexperienced, and are racing in ‘juvenile’ races in order to develop not only their strength and speed, but also their understanding of race day.
As the age of all race horses is based on how old they are on 1 January each year, it can mean there is a wide discrepancy between ages in a juvenile race. For example, a National Hunt juvenile race taking place in mid-February could feature one horse that is actually two years and a month old, and another that is just over a year old.
Why do juvenile races exist?
Juvenile races are vital to the development of race horses, just as youth football and under-age cricket is important for improving the next generation of footballers and cricketers. They exist to showcase the best up-and-coming talents, and smart horse racing betting experts will certainly keep an eye on which juveniles are showing promise.
Juvenile races in the Flat season feature two-year-old horses as they are now ready to race and experience the roar of the grandstand, but aren’t yet physically prepared for jumps.
It is in the National Hunt season where three-year-old juvenile horses jump over hurdles, although still not the taller fences. This is to get the young horses accustomed with jumps without risking a potentially dangerous fall from vaulting a fence. When three-year-old have proved themselves here then they might make the step up to fences.
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Cheltenham Festival juvenile races
There are two juvenile races that take place during the Cheltenham Festival. The first is the Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle, which is a Grade 3 race run on the Old Course over 2 miles and 1/2 furlong.
The second is the Triumph Hurdle, which is the biggest juvenile race on the National Hunt calendar and one of the most respected in the world, let alone at Cheltenham. Some of racing’s most iconic horses have gone on to further glory after winning the Triumph Hurdle, such as Tiger Roll (2014), Zarkandar (2011) and Commanche Court (1997).
The 2021 Cheltenham Festival saw horse Jeff Kidder win the Juvenile Novices’, and Quilixios win the Triumph.
Betting on juvenile races
Placing bets on juvenile horses can be tricky, as you’re unlikely to discover much in the way of form. In fact, sometimes you will be betting on a horse’s first ever race. If you want to bet on juveniles, keep a keen eye on each race card and look at who the trainers and owners are. This could give you a better indication of which horses are more likely to succeed.
- 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 is a bumper horse race?
- 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 a halter and why do some horses wear them?
- What does it mean when a horse has spread a plate?
- What is the Rule 4 betting rule in horse racing?
- 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?
- What does it mean when a horse is ‘pushed out’?
- How are horse racing ratings calculated?
- What does it mean when a horse has a ‘wind operation’?
- How high are the fences and hurdles in horse racing?
- What is an apprentice jockey?
- What is a Bull Ring in horse racing?
- What does the phrase ‘Look of Eagles’ mean in horse racing?
- Why do some horses wear a ‘weight cloth’ during races?
- What is the Triple Crown in horse racing?
- What is a Steeplechase race in horse racing?
- How high are the Cheltenham Festival fences and hurdles?
- Why is the Champion Chase named after the Queen Mother?
- Why does Cheltenham racecourse have an Old Course and a New Course? What’s the differences between the two?
- What is the Cheltenham roar? What difference does it make in races?
- Why are there no jumps in the Cheltenham Festival Champion Bumper?
- How many fans usually attend the Cheltenham Festival? How big is the capacity?