National Hunt Racing

I pride myself as having a vast knowledge of all gambling games that I can find. My friends over in England have a sporting event that I had never seen until my recent trip over there. I have seen many different horse races at different tracks in the U.S. and I’ve even been to an Equestrian event with a girl that I know. However, I have never seen the two of these sports combined into a form of steeple chasing.

That’s exactly what I saw in the National Hunt Racing events that take place in the UK. Since I was used to watching normal horse racing (they call it Flat Racing), I asked my mates over in England what these races were all about. That’s when one friend started to tell me the history of England.

national-hunt-racingThe National Hunt is based on the hunting expeditions that the noble class in England would participate in. Basically, the National Hunt was a basic training for fighting a war. The Noble person would select a particular buck’s dung and get bloodhounds to track the deer down.

Once they tracked the deer, the hunt would begin with a large group of helpers. There were chase dogs (greyhound racing) that would box the deer back into the hunt area. They also had endurance breeds of dogs that continue to chase the deer as the riders closed in for the kill. If the Nobles were hunting a wild boar, they would also deploy a fourth team of dogs (mastiffs) to bring the beast down and hold it.

That was all interesting, but I wasn’t fully ready for the experience of a National Hunt race. Basically, the only way I can compare it is the difference between watching harness racing and horse racing in the United States. This sport seems much more dangerous at times than regular horse racing.

Unfortunately, I had to come back off of vacation. I say that because my friends there told me that I should have come there a month later. That’s when the most popular National Hunt racing event takes place, the Cheltenham Festival. This is a 4-day event of National Hunt races with the biggest race of the season, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, taking place on day 4 – Friday, March 16.

This is a huge event over in England, some even say as big as Super Bowl betting in the United States.   Most of the people who bet on racing in the UK will place at least one bet on the Cheltenham Festival. There are many free bets for this event that are offered by many of the bookmakers over in England. The important thing to note is that the major race for each day of the festival will take place at 3:20pm GMT (15:20).

The four most important races are at this time of honour. These are the Champion Hurdle (Day 1), the Queen Mother Champion Chase (Day 2), the World Hurdle (Day 3), the Gold Cup (Day 4). In addition to those races, there are several other major races that take place on Day 4. These include the Triumph Hurdle (1:30), the Country Hurdle (2:05) and the Albert Bartlett Hurdle (2:40) which lead up to the Gold Cup.

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