How jump racing differs from flat racing: what should bettors know?

By Staff Reporter - 23 January 2021

Clubs & Activities

Sport is a vital part of society in Swindon and something that everyone gets involved with in one way or another.

This could be using the new cycling facilities in the local area or playing your favourite sport. It could also mean following sport as a keen fan. One of the most popular sports to follow in Swindon and the UK is horse racing. It is also a cherished part of our national culture, with names such as Desert Orchid and Tony McCoy being household names to many.

This sees many people in and around Swindon placing bets on horse racing. If you are new to betting on this sport, you may want to know more about flat and jump (also known as National Hunt) racing. Although they differ in some ways, they can also share similarities. Of course, the most obvious is that both involve jockeys riding horses over a course in the hope of winning.

They both also have iconic festivals for fans to enjoy. In jump racing, the Cheltenham Festival, which takes place every March, is the most popular. For the best tips for this year’s event, why not check out’s Cheltenham Festival picks? This is a trustworthy site that offers the best and most well-researched tips for bettors in Swindon to take advantage of.

How exactly do jump racing and flat racing differ though?

Jump racing has hurdles and fences

This is a bit obvious, but it is one of the major differences between the two types of horse racing. In simple terms, flat racing has no fences to jump and takes place on totally flat ground. Jump racing, on the other hand, does include fences and hurdles for horses to get over. For this reason, many people feel that jump racing is more challenging and a tougher test for horses (and jockeys!).

The horses are different

You will usually find that flat races and National Hunt races generally attract different types of horses. Flat racing is all about speed because the races are shorter and have no jumps to slow down riders. This means that flat horses are normally smaller and have a good burst of speed. Jump horses, on the other hand, are normally bigger and bred for stamina. These races usually take place over longer distances, and this means that the horses who compete in them must be able to last the course. To get an idea of what a classic jump horse looks like, think about iconic steeplechaser Red Rum.

Flat racing can involve less strategy

As noted above, flat racing takes place over shorter distances and is pretty much all about speed. This limits the amount of strategy in a flat race somewhat. National Hunt racing can see a lot more emphasis placed on jockey tactics. This is because a lot can happen over the longer jump distances, which jockeys have to react to. Jump racing also involves having to pace the race correctly so that the horse still has enough in the tank to finish strongly.

Flat racing starts differently from jumps

Another key difference between the two is how they start off racing. Flat races usually see horses start in metal-framed boxes that all open at the same time when the action begins. This is so that no-one can get an advantage that is hard for the others to make up. Jump racing uses elastic tape to denote the start. As they go over longer distances, getting an even start is less important because everyone has the chance to catch up.

How can bettors use this information?

While it is interesting to find out how flat racing and jump racing differ, you may wonder how to incorporate this information into your betting. For betting on flat races, you could look at which horse is the fastest and which starts well or likes to race at the front. Due to the shorter distances, these types of horses may stand more chance of winning. What about jump racing though? A key thing to remember is that this is all about stamina. Try to look for a horse who is a strong finisher and does not fall away as the race goes on.

Flat or jumps – the choice is yours

Due to the differences involved in each, most bettors around Swindon and the UK prefer either flat racing or jump racing. The added bonus with focusing on one type is that remembering which horses to look out for or which yard is in good form is much easier. If you have ever wondered why horse racing is split into flat and jumps, hopefully the above has helped.

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