As the peak of the flat season has now come and gone, it is time to now focus on the return of the 2017 national hunt season. There are still some very good races to come on the flat; the St Leger, L’Arc de Triomphe and Champions Day at Ascot however, there is much excitement to come and look forward to with the return of the jumps.
I would say that most people who enjoy racing, have an interest and respect for both flat and jumps however, there will always be a preference and favoured type of racing which makes one feel slightly biased or perhaps negative towards the other; and I have to say I am definitely more of a jumps fan. The jumps season provides a whole host of big meetings and festivals to be enjoyed by all including the pinnacle of the season, the Cheltenham Festival. Every year more and more people attend race meetings and racing events and this year will be no exception. Last year saw a phenomenal 70,000 people through the doors at Cheltenham for Gold Cup Friday.
The talent of Trainers, Horses, and Jockeys is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with as there are so many who have done extremely well over the course of their career and although there may be some you have never heard of, do not doubt that they may come through the ranks to be Champion one day. There are numerous horses to keep an eye on this season, many of which provided us with some spectacular runs last season. The likes of Colin Tizzard and Nicky Henderson, have pulled out some fantastic displays from runners such as World Hurdle winner Thistlecrack and Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices Chase winner Altior, both of which still have plenty left in the tank. This is also a time to remember the legends who once astounded crowds and gave it their all to be the best; last season racing lost Many Clouds who gave Thistlecrack a run for his money.
Last season saw Lambourn based trainer Nicky Henderson crowned champion trainer for the fourth time in front of previous season champion trainer Paul Nicholls. Moving on to jockeys, it has now been just over two years since the legend AP McCoy retired as the world’s leading jump jockey, but Richard Johnson was quick off his heels to make sure he landed the well-deserved title now he had the chance. The jumps season runs through from April to April with most fixtures taking place from September onwards which is why now is the time to pay attention. It is certainly going to be interesting to see which horses have made their way through the Grade twos to Grade ones, and those who will be moving on from Hurdles to Chase. If you can’t wait for the bigger fixtures or just fancy a day out to enjoy the racing for its true sport, then there is plenty on offer. An afternoon racing at Worcester on 18th September or the Racing UK Grand Season Opener at Warwickshire racecourse on the 26th September. Hundreds of fixtures, days, events and festivals to be enjoyed and look forward to this season and if last season is anything to go by, then I am really looking forward to it!
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