In our 20th year of being the governing body for the Australian Jumping Racing Industry; our commitment is to bring the sport to a new generation. We wish to educate about our history, equine welfare and community. Discover the facts about Jumps Racing below.


What is the Australian Jumps Season

The Australian jumps season is the designated time of the year where jumps races are programmed. The majority of the jumps races are during the times of the year where there is higher rainfall and softer tracks.

When does it happen?

The jumps season is from March to the end of September each year.

What is the difference between Hurdle and Steeplechase races?

The hurdle obstacles are smaller than the steeplechase obstacles. Horses start their jumping career in hurdle races then progress to steeplechase races if and when they have gained enough skill and the trainer believes they will be suitable over the larger obstacles.

Horses that are ideal for jumping are:

  • those that have showed staying ability on the flat that have reached their mark, but are still sound and capable of being competitive over ground.

  • horses that have shown previous form on the flat but have lost their competitiveness on the flat, on most occasions these horses have a renewed interest in racing once they start jumping.

  • An example of this is Karasi who had not won a race for 18 months; once he started schooling and jumping over hurdles he went on to win just under $3 million in prize money.

When should I send a horse to a jumps trainer?

You can send a horse at any time of the year as they need approximately two months education before being ready to jump at speed.

How do I become a Jumps Racing Member?

Head to the membership pdf formand return to memberships@australianjumpsracing.com or purchase online via

Where can I find the program?

The program can be found here

What is a steeplechase?

A steeplechase is a distance horse race in which competitors are required to jump diverse fence and ditch obstacles. Steeplechasing is primarily conducted in Ireland (where it originated), the United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Australia and France. The name is derived from early races in which orientation of the course was by reference to a churchsteeple, jumping fences and ditches and generally traversing the many intervening obstacles in the countryside.

Modern usage of the term "steeplechase" differs between countries. In Ireland and the United Kingdom, it refers only to races run over large, fixed obstacles, in contrast to "hurdle" races where the obstacles are much smaller. The collective term "jump racing" or "National Hunt racing" is used when referring to steeplechases and hurdle races collectively (although, properly speaking, National Hunt racing also includes some flat races). Elsewhere in the world, "steeplechase" is used to refer to any race that involves jumping obstacles.

Steeplechase is an unusual word. Where did it come from?

The origin of racing over fences is shrouded by the mists of history, but by all accounts it began in Ireland in the 18th century. Its roots were in the fox-hunting field, and occasionally horsemen would match up their horses for races over considerable distances. They would race to landmarks such as church steeples, and thus one of these races was a chase to the steeple, or a steeplechase.

What is a steeplechase horse?

A steeplechase horse is a Thoroughbred, just like those that race at race tracks on all days. In addition to speed, the steeplechase horse must possess the ability to jump fences at a fast pace. They usually are a little more dour than the horses that race over the hurdles. Because steeplechase races are longer than those on the flat, the steeplechase horse also must have enough stamina to carry its speed distance.

Where does jumps racing originate from and why are the races run over longer distances?

Jumps racing derived from fox hunting (hence the term “National Hunt”) and the first jumps races were called Steeplechases, so named because they were run from one church steeple to another. The first recorded Steeplechase was run over 4.5miles (7.2km) between two towns in County Cork, Ireland 1752. In 1821 the first hurdle race to be recorded was run in England. Jumps racing started in Australia late in the 19th century. Jumps races are run over longer distances because of the hunting derivative and also to help ensure that the horses go at a slower, more suitable tempo for racing over obstacles.

Why are jumps races held over autumn/winter months in Australia?

Jumps racing is held over the cooler seasons in Australia because historically jumps racing derived from hunting, which is held over the winter months but mainly because the ground is more suitable for racing over obstacles in the autumn/winter months in Australia. There are a lot of other countries who hold jumps meetings over the spring and summer months because of their differing climates and access to irrigation, these are mostly European countries

What makes a good jumper?

A combination of factors makes a good jumper. Many horses have their own style of jumping so sometimes there are no rules, but generally trainers would look for an athletic, durable type with good bone who is brave, scopey, careful, has stamina, a good brain, and is sound.

Why do jumps horses carry higher weights?

Jumps horses carry higher weights because of the speed element. More weight equals less speed and a more suitable tempo for racing over obstacles.

What is involved in training a jumps horse?

Everyone has their own system and ideas of training but generally most trainers will start their horses jumping education over smaller solid obstacles before schooling over hurdles and/or fences going at a steady pace and then schooling over hurdles and/or fences at higher speeds. Jumps horses need to be extremely fit so many hours and kilometres of work is put into these horses. Many jumps trainers, as with flat trainers use a variety of training methods to be able to get adequate miles into the horses legs.

What is a stayer?

“Stayer” is a term used to describe a horse that is able to run at speed comfortably over 2400m plus.