Jumps racing in New Zealand is enjoying a time of huge popularity at present.
Horse numbers and interest in this fascinating sub code of thoroughbred horse racing is on the rise.
During the winter months, the racing pages of the nation’s newspapers focus on the outstanding prestige jump races that take place across the country.
The NZ racing season contains around 100 jump racing events, split evenly between hurdles and steeplechases. All of these are run between the beginning of May and the end of September.
The top races are categorized as Prestige Jumping Races, the most valuable of which are the Great Northern Steeplechase over 6400m and the Great Northern Hurdle over 4190m which are staked at $125,000.
Other Prestige Jumping Races include the Grand Nationals run at Riccarton Park in Christchurch and the Wellington Hurdle and Steeplechase competed for at Trentham.
All the season’s key highlights, with exception of the Grand National Hurdle (on Wednesday) are run on Saturdays. This guarantees maximum exposure for the scintillating and thrilling spectacles.
In 2014 NZTR announced generous stakes increases to the majority of the jumping races. A total of $150,000 was added to a prize pool allocated to jump racing of just over $2 million.
This increase saw the following races stakes increased to $50,000 – the Waikato Hurdle and Steeplechase, the McGregor Grant Hurdle and Steeplechase, the Manawatu Hurdle and Steeplechase, the Hawkes Bay Hurdle and Steeplechase, the Pakuranga Hunt Hurdle and Steeplechase. Meanwhile, the Koral and Sydenham run at Riccarton in August have seen their stakes increased to $30,000 and the Wellington Hurdle and Steeple increased to $75,000.
The major innovation of recent years has been the introduction of open nomination races. This form of race entry has guaranteed a start at almost all jumping fixtures for each and every horse. In some circumstances, horses can be expected to compete out of their grade. If this is the case they are however rewarded for doing so. If maiden and race winners are placed together – the stake will be $20,000 and the first maiden home (unless they finish 1st) will receive a $1,000 maiden bonus. It has seen race field sizes increase significantly, especially in the South Island where starter numbers were smaller than elsewhere in the country.
Additionally, nomination and acceptance fees have been removed from all races with the exception of the Prestige Jumping events. This will provide a significant saving to owners.
If you have any questions or suggestions regarding jump racing in New Zealand please do not hesitate to contact Dennis Ryan, NZ Jumps Coordinator and Secretary of NZ Jumps Inc on +64 27 478 9520 or email him firstname.lastname@example.org
Make sure you find NZ Jumps on Facebook. This will provide you with an update on all matters jump racing throughout the year.