National Hunt Horse Racing Guide

National Hunt racing is most commonly known as jump racing. Discover everything you need to know about this exciting sport from renowned events like the Cheltenham Festival to the most famous horses. Whether you are an experienced bettor or new to racing, this guide offers valuable insights for your National Hunt horse racing journey.

National Hunt Racing Brief History

National Hunt racing is deeply rooted in British and Irish traditions and dates back to the early 19th century. This thrilling discipline evolved as a natural extension of the countryside, where hunters would chase and race across varied terrain. The sport gained formal recognition with the establishment of the National Hunt Committee in 1865, which set out rules and regulations.

Steeplechases originated from impromptu cross-country races between church steeples. Hurdle races have become integral to National Hunt racing ever since. The Grand National stands as one of the world's most famous steeplechases.

Over the years, National Hunt racing has grown to encompass a rich tapestry of events, including the Cheltenham Festival, attracting a passionate following of fans and bettors from across the globe.

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What is National Hunt Racing? 3 Types of National Hunt Race

National Hunt racing encompasses three distinctive race types, each with its allure. Hurdles, chases, and bumpers collectively define the sport. In the following sections, we will delve into the specifics of each type.


Hurdle races provide an accessible entry point into National Hunt racing. The obstacles involved are relatively forgiving, fostering competitive fields. With shorter distances, they favour speed and jumping ability. The Cheltenham Festival's Champion Hurdle is a celebrated example of a hurdle race, showcasing elite horses and jockeys.


These contests feature formidable fences and open terrain, pushing horses and jockeys to their limits. Races like the Grand National at Aintree and the Cheltenham Gold Cup are iconic examples of chase events, showcasing the heart and determination of both horse and rider. Races like these require jockey and horse to execute a horse racing strategy with position and jumping key.


Bumper races, also known as National Hunt Flat Race, serve as a launching pad for young talents. These events allow horses to demonstrate their speed and racing potential without the complications of jumping. The Cheltenham Festival's Champion Bumper is a prestigious example, often revealing future stars who will go on to excel in hurdles and chases. Although there are no jumps you can place many horse racing bet types on these, and include them in accumulators.

Popular National Hunt Tournaments in Sports Betting

National Hunt Racing hosts thrilling tournaments that draw in millions of fans. The Cheltenham Festival stands as a pinnacle, an annual showcase of hurdling and chasing excellence, featuring renowned races like the Cheltenham Gold Cup and Champion Hurdle. 

The Aintree Grand National, with its historic and gruelling steeplechase, is another fan favourite, where the unpredictability of the race makes it a compelling betting event. 

Beyond these, top of the list of Irish National Hunt races is the Punchestown Gold Cup, taking place at the Punchestown Festival. The Scottish Grand National also provides ample opportunities for betting on horse racing. The rich history, diverse challenges, and passionate fan base of National Hunt racing make it a rewarding arena for sports betting, offering a dynamic blend of skill and chance for punters.

Famous National Hunt Horses

National Hunt racing has witnessed the emergence of legendary horses who have etched their names in the history books. These remarkable animals are celebrated for their courage, speed, and consistency.

Among the iconic figures is Arkle, known as the "Horse of the Century." This Irish-bred powerhouse dominated steeplechasing, winning three Cheltenham Gold Cups and captivating audiences on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Another name that resonates with fans is Red Rum, the three-time Grand National winner, who became a national hero in the UK. His incredible seven Aintree victories ensured his name would live on.

These horses, along with modern champions like Kauto Star and Hurricane Fly, showcase the enduring allure of National Hunt racing.

Famous National Hunt Trainers

In the world of National Hunt racing, the trainers behind the scenes are as essential to success as the talented horses they guide. Several legendary trainers have left an indelible mark on this sport, shaping its history.

One of the most iconic figures is Martin Pipe, renowned for revolutionising training methods and producing a string of champions, including the likes of Comply or Die and Granville Again.

Willie Mullins, an Irish trainer, has consistently dominated the Cheltenham Festival, boasting a roster of top-class horses such as Hurricane Fly and Faugheen.

Nicky Henderson, with his remarkable success at Cheltenham and a formidable string of horses like Sprinter Sacre and Altior, is another household name among National Hunt trainers.

These remarkable individuals, through their expertise and dedication, have contributed significantly to horse racing.

Famous National Hunt Jockeys

When it comes to knowing how to bet on horse racing in National Hunt races, the jockey is hugely important. National Hunt racing has been graced by the presence of exceptional jockeys whose skills, determination, and daring performances have solidified their status as legends in the sport. These riders, perched atop powerful steeds, have conquered the most challenging courses and obstacles with grace and courage.

One name that resonates profoundly in National Hunt history is Sir Anthony McCoy, or simply "AP." With over 4,300 career wins, including two Grand Nationals, McCoy is widely regarded as one of the greatest jump jockeys ever.

Ruby Walsh, the face of Irish National Hunt racing, boasts a staggering number of Cheltenham Festival wins and has partnered with giants such as Kauto Star and Hurricane Fly.

Richard Dunwoody, Richard Johnson, and Barry Geraghty are among other jockeys who have carved their places in the annals of National Hunt racing with countless memorable victories.

National Hunt Racing Final Thoughts

National Hunt racing, with its rich history, iconic figures, and breathtaking races, remains a cornerstone of the horse racing world. The heart-stopping jumps, heroic horses, and dedicated jockeys make it a sport like no other. 

As you enjoy the thrill of National Hunt racing, remember to gamble responsibly. Betting should be a form of entertainment, not a risk to your well-being.

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