Article By Richard Brookes
I’m going to take a look into the world of Jumps Racing. There’s no better place to start by trying to explain how I fell In love with Jumps racing.
It all started when my Dad came home from work one day and had heard on the radio that there was a jumps meeting at our local course Haydock that coming Saturday. He felt it would be a good idea to take me, my Sister and Mum to stand out in the freezing cold on Saturday afternoon watching horse’s run round in a circle, because lets face it as a kid that’s how it appears when seeing it on the TV.
I couldn’t have been further wrong if I had tried. That cold winters day was to be the start of something that would grip me from there on in. I remember just standing there taking it all in from the horses and jockeys gathered in the parade ring to the hustle and bustle of the betting ring. To hearing of the horse’s hooves as they galloped on past the stands. It was something that I had never experienced before in my life, I can’t remember if I backed a winner or not that day but the one thing for sure was I wanted to come back.
The experience of that cold winters day hadn’t been lost on me as after that I started to watch the racing on the TV on Saturday’s throughout the winter. It wasn’t until the following July that I did go back racing to Haydock where the Flat season was in full swing. I remember that day better than the last and it wasn’t until one of the latter races and there was a whisper going around the course for a horse called Superfrills who was heavily backed from 25/1 into 8/1 and did the business. While I enjoyed the atmosphere of the racecourse the racing itself didn’t grab me as much as seeing horses jumping over obstacles. I came away from the day knowing that it was jumps racing all the way for me and from that day on flat racing has never given me the buzz that seeing a horse jumping over fences at speed ever will.
I went away and my topic of reading was Jumps Racing. I had absolutely no idea about the handicap system, trainers or racecourses but I had been bitten by the racing bug and I wanted to find out and learn as much as my brain would absorb. The first thing that struck me with Jumps Racing was the career of the Jumps Horses. They came back year after year and over time you got to build up a knowledge of these horses and what conditions suited them best. The sight of seeing horses ploughing through the mud and giving their all was something that you couldn’t help but admire. While at first as a kid the excitement of seeing them jumping over obstacles was what made me fall in love with the game, over the years the longevity of the National Hunt horses and following their careers is something that I’ve come to enjoy.
I always remember the Cheltenham Gold Cup in which Kauto Star was pulled up as he came back in front of the stands while the Cheltenham Gold Cup was in full flow. The reception he got from the crowd made me proud to be a Jumps Racing fan, it didn’t matter one bit if people had backed him that day it wasn’t about the money, the enjoyment he had given me along with so many others throughout his career was worth more than that. There are many moments within the sport like the Kauto Star one but for me, that is what sums Jumps Racing up. People take these horses into their hearts due to the courage they show on the racecourse.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this week’s blog.
The Jumps Punter