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Jump racing is a race in which the competing horses jump obstacles on the track. There are two types – hurdles and fences. Hurdles are smaller than fences and fewer are jumped during the course of a race.
Jumps racing is also known as National Hunt racing and the race distances range from two miles to over four miles. The jumps season runs from April to April and there is only short break between seasons, while the core season runs from October to April and these months feature the most prestigious races and festivals.
Jump racing is one of the two major types of racing in the UK – the other is flat racing. The races are longer and it is traditionally an autumn and winter sport but there are now fixtures all around the year. The most important events are the graded races in which horses run off the same weight except for age and gender allowances. The weight range in jumps racing is from 10 stone to 11 stone 10 pounds.
The biggest meeting of the jumps season is the Cheltenham Festival in March. Over four days there are championship races for chasers, hurdlers and National Hunt-bred flat horses.
The most famous race in the sport is the Grand National which is run at Aintree in April. The other leading major races are the King George V1 Chase and Christmas Hurdle at Kempton in December, the Ladbrokes Trophy at Newbury in November and the Scottish Grand National at Ayr in April.
The longest jumps race in Britain and the most famous steeplechase in the world is the Grand National. The race distance is four miles and 514 yards and there are 30 fences.