UK Horse Racing – The Different Types of National Hunt Races

National Hunt racing in the UK takes place primarily between the months of October and March though a limited amount does take place during the summer months. There are three main types of race – hurdle, chase and bumper. Let’s take a brief look at each.

Hurdles

Races over hurdles involves the horses jumping a number of obstacles a minimum of three feet and six inches in height. The number jumped varies dependant on the distance of the race which is usually between two and three and a half miles. To run over hurdles a horse must be a minimum of three years old. Juvenile hurdles are generally for three and four year old horses. Novice races are for animals which have not won a race before prior to the start of the current season.

There are also handicap hurdle races for horse which have earned a handicap mark. The qualifying conditions vary depending on the rating of the horses. In addition we have maidens – for horses who have yet to win a race, claimers – when each horse can be claimed by a new owner for a given price, selling races after which the winner is subject to sale by public auction and apprentice races which are restricted to apprentice jockeys.

Steeple Chases

A chase is a race run over larger obstacles known as fences. The minimum height of each fence is four feet and six inches on the take-off side. Water jumps must be at least three feet high. Open ditch fences have to be at least four feet and six inches high.

Chases are run over distances of two miles minimum to over three miles. There are longer distance chases with perhaps the most famous being the Grand National which is around four and a quarter miles in distance and an extreme test of stamina for horse and jockey. Similar to the hurdles, steeplechases involve novice races and handicaps.

National Hunt Flat

This type of race is also known as a “bumper.” It is for horses which have yet to graduate to hurdles and require experience of racing. No obstacles are involved. The distance run is typically from a mile and three-quarters upwards.

The National Hunt season builds to a crescendo each March with the staging of the annual Cheltenham Festival. This sees four days of top class jumps racing such as the Champion Hurdle and the Gold Cup.

Horses running over the jumps tend to have longer careers that their flat counterparts with the public taking them to their hearts. Some famous National Hunt horses from recent times include Red Rum, Desert Orchid, Kauto Star, Denman, Florida Pearl and Istabraq.

A day at a National Hunt meeting tends to be a more relaxed affair than the flat. Most of the courses are in beautiful rural country and quite scenic. Cheltenham itself falls in to the category. Other courses in such settings include Ludlow, Fakenham, Market Rasen, Perth, Wetherby and Bangor-on-Dee. Literally from one end of the country to the other.

Zenyatta Running Against Rachel AlexandraThe Match Race that Never Happened Who Wins?

It was the match race that could have been that never was. In 2009, the racing world was hoping to see the eventual Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra, face off with the eventual Breeder’s Cup Classic winner Zenyatta.

I would have loved to have seen Smarty Jones face off with Afleet Alex, or Barbaro against Uncle Mo, but those horses did not race at the same time, whereas Rachel and Zenyatta’s racing careers did overlap significantly.

There was much debate in the racing world over who was better, and it would be one of the more intriguing matchups simply because of the two different styles. Rachel Alexandra was a frontrunner and Zenyatta was a closer. If it were agreed that the two were evenly matched on any surface, then common handicapping wisdom usually favors the frontrunner simply because the pacesetter can dictate slower early fractions, ensuring that they have plenty in the tank left in the stretch.

Who was really better? It is difficult to say – Zenyatta on the one hand won 19 out of 20 career races, her only loss being a half length loss in the 2010 Breeder’s Cup Classic to Blame. Rachel Alexandra won 13 of 18 career starts, and finished either first or second in 17 of those 18 starts, her only out of the money finish coming in her first career start at the short distance of 4 – furlongs in May of her two year old season, at time at which many two year olds are just in the early developing stages.

Very few would dispute that the Rachel Alexandra of her four year old season never quite recaptured the magnificent form she displayed as a three year old in which she beat three year old males twice, first in the Preakness and then in the Haskell, and then went on to beat older males in the Grade 1 Woodward.

Zenyatta beat older males only once, and that was in the 2009 Breeder’s Cup Classic at Santa Anita, though she did finish a gallant second in the 2010 Classic as mentioned above. Rachel has five Grade 1 races to her credit; Zenyatta has 13 Grade 1 races under her belt.

The largest margin of victory Zenyatta ever registered was 4 – lengths, which came on dirt in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Stakes at Oaklawn in 2008. When Rachel Alexandra was on her game, she destroyed the competition, winning races by double digit lengths. In the 2009 Kentucky Oaks, she demolished six rivals by 20 – lengths, and in the Grade 1 Mother Goose later that year, she won by 19 – lengths.

Even as a four year old she had one really brilliant race in winning the Grade 2 Fleur De Lys by 10 – lengths. In Rachel Alexandra’s two races in which she won by about 20 lengths, she was absolutely cruising and under wraps the final 1/8 of a mile. Zenyatta rarely had races like this where the jockey sat motionless on her, never even urging her. Zenyatta often had spectators holding their collective breaths in anticipation whether she would run down the frontrunner by the time they hit the wire.

It should also be noted that Zenyatta won most of her races on the synthetic surfaces of Southern California, though she did win three races on dirt convincingly. It is hard to say what surface she was really better on, especially since she did so well in last year’s Classic on dirt.

My feeling is that since Rachel never raced on synthetic, the edge would have to go to Zenyatta over this surface, even if Rachel were allowed to set her own pace. On dirt, however, I think Rachel Alexandra in her prime was just as good as Zenyatta if not better. She won the Grade 1 Mother Goose at Belmont at 1 1/8 miles in a time of 146 and 1/5 seconds! – Just 4/5 of a second off Secretariat’s track record. Would Zenyatta really have run Rachel Alexandra that day and run 146 flat or below? I doubt it. The Rachel of her three year old season I think would defeat Zenyatta on dirt, but I would give Zenyatta the slight edge over synthetic simply because she is proven over that surface.

By becoming a VIP, you can simulate match races such as these at any distance over any surface type and at any track. Try matching up Zenyatta vs. Rachel Alexandra, or better still, Big Brownon the dirt at 1 mile, or matching them up in a 1 – mile race on the synthetic surface at Santa Anita Park. The possibilities are endless!

Horse racing is a sport of ‘what ifs’ and ‘what could have beens’. All horse racing enthusiasts are always comparing the past against the present champions. Playing them out in virtual races is a big part of what our game offers. What are your thoughts on who would win going the classic distance of 1-1/4 miles at Churchill Downs – Zenyatta or Rachel Alexandra? We would love to hear your comments below.

Escape To The World Of Scenic Beauty At Aspen Canyon Ranch.

Summer is upon us and everyone is scrambling to plan his or her last minute vacations and mini breaks. You would surely love to go somewhere as your friends and neighbors all jet off to their beach resorts and city tours. With so much anticipation it would be a shame to revisit the same destination you have holidayed for years. It is important to choose somewhere that both you and your partner agree on. If you want to go on romantic and intimate holidays and your partner takes you to tiring outdoor adventurous trips it will obviously cause friction. Fear not there are certain destinations around the world where you can really chill out with romantic moments as well as adventurous activities. That’s where Aspen Canyon Ranch comes in; they combine the best of both worlds to allow you and your partner experience the best of both worlds.

Activities like whitewater rafting, horseback riding, flyfishing etc ensure that your holidays are filled with lots of exploration and breathtaking moments. Whitewater rafting along the valleys of Aspen Canyon Ranch in Colorado is a sought after place where people can enjoy themselves with the thrills of fast moving white water through the rocky riverbeds. The Aspen Canyon Ranch team supplies all the necessary gear and accessories and they will train with you up on all you need to know for each sport. Aspen Canyon has the best and most experienced guides who ensure your pleasure and safety on each trip. A huge number of tourists visit Breckenridge Colorado every year to experience most amazing rafting trips.

You can follow up the rafting trip by horseback riding where you can trail through mountains on horseback and can explore the scenic beauty of snow laden mountains reaching into puffy white clouds. There are different timings and routes for horseback riding trips and it is a popular attraction so you need to book it early as it works on a first come first serve basis. They charge according to time and age group which you belong to.

The ATV tours can complete your experience and allow you to see more of what the Colorado Rockies has to offer. ATV tours are recommended in order to skim around some of the more rugged unexplored terrain. Before you visit you are given maps and comprehensive safety talks. Once you organize your tour you are given guidance about what to wear and what to carry with you as well as rental times and types of vehicle.

For the lovers of the outdoors fly fishing is another great attraction and activity provided by Aspen Canyon Ranch. It offers – a mile of private fish catching area on the bank of William Fort River. They give you lessons regarding fly fishing with teaching and presentations delivered by experienced guides. For an exciting yet romantic vacation book with Aspen Canyon Ranch today to be guaranteed an epic adventure.

The Lockinge Stakes – A History of One of English Flat Racing’s Feature Mile Races

When initially developed the race was open to 3 year olds with the initial race being won by the 2000 Guineas victor, Pall Mall, that went on to win the list below year and also that is still just one of 3 steed to have actually won the race two times. These days the race is pertained to as a significant test for the Group One Queen Ann Stakes which is the conventional drape raiser at the 5 day Royal Ascot Festival. Champion last was Paco Boy educated by Richard Hannon that will certainly practically definitely have the much-loved to win the race in 2011 with Canford Cliffs, that won 3 times at Group One degree last period which consisted of the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh, the St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot as well as the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

When initially developed the race was open to 3 year olds with the initial race being won by the 2000 Guineas victor, Pall Mall, that went on to win the list below year as well as that is still just one of 3 steed to have actually won the race two times. These days the race is pertained to as a significant test for the Group One Queen Ann Stakes which is the conventional drape raiser at the 5 day Royal Ascot Festival. Champion last was Paco Boy educated by Richard Hannon that will certainly nearly definitely have the much-loved to win the race in 2011 with Canford Cliffs, that won 3 times at Group One degree last period which consisted of the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh, the St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot as well as the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

Horseback Riding Camps Are An Adventure!

Horseback riding camps provide a whole lot a great deal even more compared to simply riding with valleys as well as hillsides. They inform program riding as perfectly as satisfaction riding, with the 2 English and also Western saddles. If you’re going shopping to do some point a little numerous the list below time summertime rolls well-rounded, believe regarding horseback riding camps whether or not you possess an equine or not.

Horseback riding camps supply a great deal a great deal even more compared to simply riding with valleys as well as hillsides. They enlighten program riding as perfectly as enjoyment riding, with the 2 English and also Western saddles. If you’re going shopping to do some point a little numerous the list below time summertime rolls well-rounded, believe concerning horseback riding camps whether or not you have a steed or not.