New Juvenile Hurdle Races: The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced an initiative to support the Juvenile Hurdlers population following concerns raised in the Jump Racing Review.
Four high-value Introductory Hurdle races, for horses which have not previously run in more than one hurdle race, will be added to the programme in November and December.
The initiative is aimed to create a pathway for horses who could be introduced into Jump racing following on from their Flat careers. The Racing Department is keen to offer an enhancement to the current programme by offering high-value races that will complement the existing Black Type opportunities available. It is hoped this enhanced incentive will encourage Jump connections to purchase Juvenile hurdlers at the sales and encourage owners of Flat horses to consider hurdling as a viable option.
There are several factors which could be contributing to the shortage of runners in Juvenile Hurdle races, including the increased cost of purchasing suitable hurdling candidates from the Flat, to the increase in quality races and prize money available on the All Weather allowing horses to have a prolonged Flat career.
The BHA development fund currently contributes £80,000 towards four Juvenile Handicap Hurdle races that are held in the spring and it is hoped that these new races will add further incentive to attract Flat horses and owners into hurdling during the early part of the season. The Development Fund has approved £8,000 per race to be released towards the four £20,000 Introductory Juvenile Hurdle races.
The Introductory Juvenile Races are as follows:
Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer for the BHA, said:
“The decline in the number of juvenile hurdlers over the past decade is a continuing cause for concern. It seems likely that there are a number of factors behind this, not least that as the winter all-weather programme has improved and the demand from overseas buyers remains strong, fewer horses are switching from the Flat to go hurdling. These new juvenile hurdle races have been created to provide some valuable early season targets and the aim is that they will encourage the owners of more above average Flat horses to consider hurdling as an attractive option over the winter.”