Summer jumping – Five fantastic National Hunt meetings to take in this summer
We’ve listed five National Hunt meetings, across Britain and Ireland, that jumps racing fans must take in during the summer.
Between the months of May and October, National Hunt horses take a back seat as their counterparts on the flat come bursting to the fore. While huge events like the Epsom Derby, Glorious Goodwood, and Royal Ascot may get the heart pumping for some, flat racing simply doesn’t cut the mustard for many jumps racing aficionados.
If you’re one of the many National Hunt fans who doesn’t enjoy the action on the level, fear not, as there are plenty of excellent jumps meetings taking place during the summer in the aftermath of the Cheltenham Festival 2020 that will recapture your imagination. Here are five of the best summer meetings for National Hunt fans to take in this year.
Stratford – Hunter Chase Finals Evening
Hunter Chases are pushed into the spotlight during the spring, with historic races taking place at the Cheltenham, Aintree and Punchestown Festivals. The Hunter Chase season then comes to its conclusion at Stratford Racecourse – on a Friday evening at the end of May, or the beginning of June – and plenty of big prizes will be up for grabs.
Along with the Pertemps Network Champion Hunter Chase, the Novices’ Hunter Chase Final and the final of the Ladies Open Point-To-Point Championship Final will wow the capacity crowd. The atmosphere at this historic racecourse is always electric, especially on a Friday evening, and the picturesque center of Stratford-Upon-Avon is always worth a visit.
Uttoxeter – Summer Cup Day
The most lucrative prize on offer for jumpers during the summer will be handed out at Uttoxeter, with many highly-rated chasers venturing to the Staffordshire venue to take part in the Summer Cup. Top trainers like Dan Skelton, Colin Tizzard and Emma Lavelle often target this race with their top staying chasers and the field for this year’s renewal is bound to be high in quality – seeing as race sponsors, bet365 have decided to up the first prize.
Usually staged on a Sunday afternoon at the end of June or beginning of July, Summer Cup day at Uttoxeter is a wonderful afternoon for the whole family to enjoy. Like many meetings of this type, children under the age of 18 can enter the racecourse for free, with Paddock, Grandstand, and Centre Course tickets readily available at an affordable price.
Market Rasen – Summer Plate Day
Lincolnshire’s most glamorous race day takes place on a Saturday afternoon late in July, with the ITV Racing team joining throngs of passionate fans at Market Rasen to take in the Summer Plate. Over £20k in prize money will be handed out to the winners of the Summer Plate and the Summer Handicap Hurdle – the second Listed race taking place on his popular card.
Summer Plate day mixes racing with fashion for the perfect day to enjoy with family and friends. Guests are free to enter the Marshalls Yard Gainsborough Style Awards for a chance to win some fantastic prizes, with live music entertaining attendees well after the card has come to a close.
Galway – The Galway Festival
For those missing the fun and frivolity of a multi-day Festival, a trip to Galway is certainly in order during the first week of August. The Galway Summer Festival is the highlight of the summer for jumps fans in Ireland, with over 150,000 fans gathering at Galway races during this five-day spectacular.
The busiest, and most popular, day at the Galway Festival is most certainly Ladies’ Day on Wednesday. Female attendees are encouraged to wear their finest summer garments and enter various style pageant’s. The Galway Plate and Galway Hurdle headline that day’s card, with future Grade One winners like Balko Des Flos and Sharjah winning these races in recent years.
Cartmel – August Bank Holiday Weekend
Northern racing fans will want to pencil in a trip to Cartmel races at the end of the summer, as the Lancashire venue hosts two excellent afternoons of racing over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Saturday’s card is headlined by the Cartmel Cup, a two-mile handicap hurdle with the first prize of £12k available to the winner. After a day off on Sunday, punters will return to Cartmel in their droves on Bank Holiday Monday, with the popular Cavendish Cup Chase headlining day two’s festivities.
Gates open at 10am on both days of this popular meeting. Family picnic areas are dotted around the racecourse and the fantastic funfair, situated in the Course Enclosure, will keep the small – and the big kids amongst us – thoroughly entertained.