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Horse Racing: Jump Season Schedule

The National Hunt season in Britain essentially runs all year round, but the meat of the campaign takes place from October through until April.

The autumn brings a changing of the guard from Flat racing to jumps, with some major meetings in October signalling the sway.

From there, the jumps campaign builds nicely towards a spring crescendo via the major festivals at Cheltenham and Aintree before the season-ending bet365-sponsored Finale Meeting at Sandown in late April.

Here's our quick guide to the British jumps season, with a reminder that every race from the UK and Ireland can be watched live via the bet365 Sports Live Streaming platform. 


The month of October brings with it the start of jumps season 'proper'. Chepstow hosts the first significant meeting with their two-day Jumps Season Opener in the middle of the month, which includes the Grade 2 Persian War Novices' Hurdle.

From there, it is onwards to the home of the jumps at Cheltenham and their Showcase Meeting in late October.

That first meeting of the season in the Cotswolds brings with it an air of huge anticipation and is one of only five Cheltenham meetings before The Festival in March.


Another key early stopping point comes at Wetherby, where they host the bet365 Charlie Hall Chase in the final days of October or, more commonly, at the beginning of November.

The Grade 2 Charlie Hall is the first major staying chase of the campaign, while the meeting also hosts the West Yorkshire Hurdle, a key Grade 2 stayers' race.

Also in early November is the Colin Parker Memorial Chase at Carlisle and Haldon Gold Cup at Exeter.

Cheltenham's November Meeting is a high-quality three-day offering, including the second major handicap chase over their intermediate two-and-a-half-mile trip as well as the Greatwood Hurdle and the Shloer Chase - the latter one of the important early-season two-milers.

Aintree also comes to the party in November with the Old Roan Chase, while towards month end the Betfair Chase at Haydock is the biggest Grade 1 staying chase run on British soil pre-Christmas.


The month of December is a rich one for fans of jumps racing. It begins at Newbury where their two-day meeting is headlined by the Coral Gold Cup, one of the most prestigious handicap chases of the year.

Meanwhile Newcastle have their major jumps race in early December too, the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle over two-miles tends to reveal or see the return of Champion Hurdle contenders. 

Next stop is Sandown Park with its famous Railway Fences for the Tingle Creek Festival, taking its name from the Grade 1 two-mile chase that is among the crown jewels of British jumps racing.

There's also Grade 1 novice chasing via the Henry VIII Novices' Chase, also over two-miles and a terrific jumping test, while Aintree's Grand National fences are seen for the first time in the Becher Chase. 

Cheltenham's December offering comprises two days, with the International Hurdle and the December Gold Cup to the fore, while just before Christmas comes Ascot's Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle.

Immediately following the festive celebrations comes Boxing Day at Kempton Park and the King George VI Chase, a Grade 1 three-miler which is the centrepiece in the first half of the season and a race with a storied history.

Kempton also stages the Christmas Hurdle, the Kauto Star Novices' Chase and the Desert Orchid Chase during two days of fantastic festive entertainment.

At Chepstow, meanwhile, the Welsh Grand National comes up annually between Christmas and New Year, while the Challow Novices' Hurdle at Newbury is the final Grade 1 of the calendar year.


The month starts with a bang, with the likes of Cheltenham racing on New Year's Day as the festive racing programme comes to a close. 

The Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown is Britain's first Grade 1 of the year, while January highlights also include the Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle at Kempton and the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase at Ascot, another two-mile cracker. 

At the end of the month, Cheltenham's Trials Day card is a Saturday afternoon treat and the final act at Prestbury Park before March, with the Cleeve Hurdle and Cotswolds Chase among the features.


With its proximity to Cheltenham, February tends to be a more relaxed month in Britain, though the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown means it is a high-octane first weekend of the month in Ireland, with more British trainers targeting those big prizes.

The Kingmaker Chase at Warwick and the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton join the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton and Sandown's Grade 1 Scilly Isles Novices' Chase among the key contests.

At Newbury, the Denman Chase and Game Spirit Chase are traditional mainstays, while the Grade 1 Ascot Chase is a top-level intermediate event over 2m5f.


The biggest four days in the season come along at the Cheltenham Festival in mid-March from Tuesday-Friday, via a 28-race extravaganza of all that is good about jumps racing.

The Champion Hurdle, Queen Mother Champion Chase, Stayers' Hurdle and, of course, the Gold Cup itself on Friday are the main events, but in truth the Cheltenham Festival is laced with quality and the biggest prizes in the sport.

It begins with the famous roar for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and is one of the most storied meetings in racing.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is quite simply the most sought after race in National Hunt racing. 


Quickly on the heels of Cheltenham comes Aintree and their Grand National Meeting, the second of Britain's major spring festivals.

Aintree comes two or three weeks after Cheltenham and there are lots of opportunities to see champions from the Cotswolds coming here for races such as the Aintree Bowl and the Liverpool Hurdle as well as some top novice contests. 

Then of course comes perhaps the most iconic jumps race of them all, the Grand National itself, over the four-mile plus journey and those famous spruce-clad Aintree fences. 

The Scottish Grand National at Ayr comes up in April, while the Irish version is at Fairyhouse on Easter Monday. 

Finally, on the last Saturday of the month, the bet365 Jumps Finale takes place at Sandown Park, with the bet365 Gold Cup and the Celebration Chase the key races as the jumps season goes on a sort of summer sabbatical. 

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