With the turn of the New Year, the National Hunt racing season is on the verge of reaching its climax. The festive period really seemed to spring the jumps campaign into life, with the prestigious King George VI Chase, the Welsh Grand National and the Leopardstown Christmas Festival having the punters scouring the horse racing betting odds from SkyBet.
The top-quality racing has carried on into the early stages of 2022, with the Cheltenham New Year’s Day fixture and the Clarence House Chase racecard at Ascot some of the highlights so far. Those meetings have set the tone nicely and whetted the appetite for things to come between now and the end of the season in late April. So, with that in mind, read on as we take a look at some of this season’s biggest jumps racing events remaining.
Newbury Super Saturday
Taking place at Newbury Racecourse on February 12th, just a month prior to the Cheltenham Festival, the Super Saturday card is often used as final preparation by several of the top trainers ahead of the Prestbury Park meeting. Featuring two Grade 2s, the Denman Chase and the Game Spirit Chase, as well as the Grade 3 Hurdle, there is plenty to keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire day.
Ascot Chase Raceday
Held at Ascot on the following Saturday, the Chase racecard is another opportunity for trainers to get their horses in tip-top shape ahead of the Cheltenham Festival. The Grade 2 Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase will likely feature some of the Broadway Novices’ Chase hopefuls as they get a final trip over three miles ahead of the March meeting, while the Grade 1 highlight, the Ascot Chase, is perfect for those looking for a bit of fine tuning ahead of the Ryanair Chase.
The Cheltenham Festival
The pinnacle of the National Hunt season, the Cheltenham Festival is four action-packed days of jumps racing at its very best. 28 races, 14 of which are Grade 1 level contests, spread out across the week, you won’t want to miss a single second of the meeting. The Irish have dominated the Festival in recent years, landing a huge 23 victories in 2021, and they’ll be out to do the same this year with Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott and Henry de Bromhead battling it out for the Leading Trainer award.
The Grand National Festival
The one the whole world comes to a standstill for, the Grand National Festival at Aintree! With the main focus in Merseyside on the marathon race itself, which is dubbed the ultimate test of horse and rider, the rest of the meeting is often left in its shadow. However, while the National is a race that has everyone truly glued to their television sets, there are plenty more reasons to be excited about the meeting. There are nine Grade 1 races spread throughout the three days, including the Liverpool Hurdle, the Aintree Hurdle and the Mildmay Novices’ Steeple Chase.
Known as Ireland’s own version of the Cheltenham Festival, the Punchestown Festival in late April concludes the Irish jumps season. Running for five days, there are a huge 39 races with 12 Grade 1 contests. Ireland’s finest, many of whom would have won the big races at Prestbury Park the month before, will be on show for the thousands of punters who flock to the town of Naas. The Punchestown Gold Cup, the Champion Hurdle, the Annie Power Mares’ Champion Hurdle and the Ryanair Novice Steeplechase are just a few of the big races to keep an eye out for!