In National Hunt racing, you’ll see that some races at called ‘Chases’ and some are ‘Hurdles’. However, you might not know the difference between them, so we’re going to give you a brief explanation so you know what sort of race you’re betting on.
Basically, a hurdle race is where horses jump over hurdles (unsurprisingly) and a chase is short for steeplechase, where horses run over fences.
Hurdles are the smaller objects as they have to be a minimum of three-and-a-half feet high, whereas fences must be a minimum of four-and-a-half-feet high.
Many horses will compete in hurdles to start with and then go onto fences as chases are usually the stronger encounters.
A hurdle is usually made of brush and has some flexibility, making it easier for horses to complete the race. Fences are higher and require a horse to have a good jumping technique, so there is more risk of falling.
So you always want to make sure what sort of race you’re betting on and if a horse has never been over fences before, you might want to take that into account.
Races such as the Grand National and Cheltenham Gold Cup – which are two of the biggest around – are chases ran over fences.
You do get plenty of good hurdle races though, but as the horse gets a bit older it requires more of a jumping technique as their speed might not be what it was, so they’re likely to switch to fences.