The Australian Jumping Racing Industry's 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 ongoing commitment from Racing Victoria towards Jumps Racing?

Jumps racing enjoys a long and esteemed history in Victoria with the annual Warrnambool May Racing Carnival a pinnacle of country racing nationwide.

Following a major reset after the 2009 season, jumps racing has been regenerated in Victoria with an unwavering focus from VTRI stakeholders on the safety of all participants.

The 2021 season saw 186 horses compete – the highest number in a season since the reset and up from 125 in 2010.

The introduction of new One-Fit Hurdles, designed to further improve safety for horse and rider, saw 2021 achieve the lowest fall rate in history – down 66% on the 10-year average.

There are 19 jumps racing meetings – six exclusively for jumps riders – programmed in 2022 across eight racetracks.

RV is proposing to retain jumps racing throughout the next decade and program races at those tracks currently conducting meetings subject to appropriate safety standards being maintained, Club support, and the availability of venues and horses.

RV is open to increasing the number of races conducted within the existing season window of March to August, subject to the support of owners and trainers in growing the jumping population.

A trend towards race meetings conducted exclusively with jumps and highweight races will continue should participation numbers warrant it.

The complete Racing Victoria infrastructure paper can be found here

Why is it important jumps racing remains a career path for some thoroughbreds?

Stayers take time and money to prepare.

The dream is to win at the highest level.

In practice most don’t make the highest level and jumps racing provides the horse, owners and trainers a second chance of racing and provides a much better chance of them being rehomed and living a long and mentally stimulating life as an equestrian horse or equine therapy horse.

2023 Program and Prize Money Highlights Include

Victoria’s 2023 Jumps Racing Program Released

Racing Victoria (RV), in consultation with the Australian Jumps Racing Association (AJRA), has today released the program and prizemoney enhancements for the 2023 jumps racing season.

Following a significant prizemoney uplift of over $850,000 in the 2022 season, the 2023 program will see an additional $175,000 in prizemoney dispersed across four of Victoria’s feature jumps races taking the total amount on offer to just under $5 million.

The 2023 season will feature 19 jumps meetings throughout Victoria from March to August – six of which will be held exclusively for jumps riders – with 42 hurdle races and 24 steeplechase races programmed prior to any divisions.

The prizemoney increases announced for 2023 are as follows:

  • Grand Annual Steeplechase (5500m), Warrnambool (4 May) – increases from $350,000 to $400,000;

  • Grand National Hurdle (4200m), Ladbrokes Park Sandown (6 Aug) – increases from $250,000 to $300,000;

  • Grand National Steeplechase (4500m), Sportsbet-Ballarat (27 August)- increases from $350,000 to $400,000

  • JJ Houlahan Hurdle (3200m), Sportsbet-Ballarat (27 August) – increases from $125,000 to $150,000

The 2023 jumps racing program will mirror the 2022 schedule, with one notable change as follows:

  • The $100,000 Two Rivers Steeplechase (3800m), which was previously run on Casterton Cup Day in mid-May, will move to Casterton’s following meeting on Sunday, 25 June 2023.

The 2023 jumps racing season will again commence at Terang on Friday, 17 March and conclude at Sportsbet-Ballarat on Sunday, 27 August with the Grand National Steeplechase meeting.

Quotes attributable to Josh Grimwood, Racing Victoria Jumps Racing Manager

“Jumps racing is a unique feature of the Victorian racing calendar and together with the AJRA we are pleased to deliver the 2023 program and prizemoney enhancements which recognise the current strength of jumps racing in our state.

“The 2022 jumps racing season was among the safest ever conducted, it enjoyed strong engagement with increased wagering turnover, and saw a record crowd attend the jewel-in-the-crown Warrnambool May Carnival.

“That growing interest has been reflected with the additional investment in prizemoney announced today for four marquee jumps races, which compliments the wide-ranging increases announced for 2022 and rewards the hard work of many to ensure that the sport remains highly competitive.

"The priority for all involved in Victorian jumps racing continues to be the safety of the sport and importantly we have witnessed continued improvement through ongoing safety initiatives and a robust regulatory framework.

“I would like to thank the AJRA and the participating clubs for their engagement and support in constructing the program and look forward to another terrific season of jumping in 2023.”

Quotes attributable to Sandy McGregor, Australian Jumps Racing Association Chairman

“The AJRA is pleased that the 2023 program and prizemoney reflects the improvements of jumps racing in Victoria.

“In conjunction with Racing Victoria, we look forward to continually improving equine and participant welfare in jumps racing so the sport remains strong.

How important is the Warrnambool carnival to the sport in Australia?

The iconic May Racing Carnival is one of the cornerstones of jumps racing in Victoria. It features the Grand Annual Steeplechase, first run in 1872 and other feature and supporting jumps races. Warrnambool in the first week of May is a Mecca for jumps racing enthusiasts. The May Racing Carnival provides a great boost to the Warrnambool and district economy.

What is the total amount of prizemoney awarded for the 2023 season?

Following a significant prizemoney uplift of over $850,000 in the 2022 season, the 2023 program will see an additional $175,000 in prizemoney dispersed across four of Victoria’s feature jumps races taking the total amount on offer to just under $5 million.

What were the top 10 achievements since 2021?




  • IMPLEMENTED 3 NEW SCHOOLING CHUTES AT Wangaratta, Seymour & Geelong


  • ONLINE JUMPS RACING HUB for the Warrnambool May Carnival.





Why is Victoria the only state to hold jumps racing in Australia?

Victoria is the only state that fully supports staying racing. Consequences of running races like the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup and Jericho Cup. This results in a good supply of horses for jumps racing.

Trainers are used to training stayers and many are retired jumps jockeys or horse people who have grown up in regional areas.

There aim, to win our greatest race followed by a plan B for winning over the jumps (which is now offering just under $5 million in prize money) This provides horses with a second career.

Jumps jockeys have historically made very good trainers of stayers and sprinters.

For example Ciaran Maher a former jumps jockey and leading trainer has won both this year’s Melbourne and Sydney Cup.

Going back more than a century, four-time Melbourne Cup winning trainer and Australian Racing Hall of Fame member had been a jumps jockey.

Clayton Douglas also a former jumps jockey won this year’s richest Australian horse race The Everest with sprinter Giga Kick, who recently demonstrated why many consider him Australia’s best sprinter in Saturday’s $1.5m All-Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.

When does the season happen?

The jumps season is from March to the end of August 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.

What horses are ideal for jumping?

  • 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?

You can purchase one of our memberships via our online store.

Where can I find the program?

The program can be found here.

What type of obstacles are used in jumps racing?

Introduction of the world’s most current safety protocols has had a major impact in reducing falls and has minimized serious injury.

The introduction of French Brush steeples and the OneFit hurdle from England has seen the safest year in jumps racing in over 20 years. This is the world’s safest equipment and they are used in thousands of jumps races every year internationally.

Focusing on research from the BHA and their associated university partners has led hurdle take off to be changed to the colour white. Horses can see better and Australia have led the way in this new change with England following with the change

Replacing every schooling chute in Victoria racing clubs with the Irish Easyfix fences has seen much better education outcomes for horses going jumping.

Discover more about the One Fit Hurdles

What is a 'One Fit Hurdle'?

The ‘One Fit’ design is a modified hurdle frame with a custom fitting closed-cell foam pad replacing the traditional birch. The hurdle was developed by the British Horseracing Authority’s Senior Inspector of Courses Richard Linley, in consultation with relevant industry bodies, with the objective of reducing both the faller rate and the risk of injury as the result of a fall.

Discover more about the One Fit Hurdles

What are the equine welfare benefits with the new One Fit Hurdles?

The improvement in equine welfare in the UK has been significant. Since their initial trial began in June 2013 the faller rate has reduced to 1.59 per cent (56 fallers from 3,525 runners), which represents a reduction of 0.5 per cent compared to the ten-year average number of fallers across all hurdle designs.

Discover more about the One Fit Hurdles

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 would I invest in a jumper?

When you buy a yearling you will wait between 18 months and 2 years to get to the races. Even then it is not certain if you will be competitive.

With a jumper they have already shown some ability on the flat and within 3 months you can be at the races; with a greater chance of getting a return on your investment.

If the horse has been spelling and is coming back into work, it is normally about 3 to 4 months before he will be fit enough and qualified to race in a jumps race. If he is already in work a maximum of 3 months, your horse will most likely have some flat runs prior to competing in a jumps race.

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.

Why do jockeys carry heavier weights in jumps races?

There is a minimum weight set by Racing Administration for both Flat races and Jumps races. The minimum for jumps jockeys is 65kgs in Australia. A jockey’s weight carried on race day is determined by the weighting of the horse in the race. If they are too light to meet that weight naturally, they are required to carry a lead bag which brings them up to that weight.

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 are the costs involved with a jumping horse?

Pretty much the same as a horse that races on the flat.

How do I become a jumps owner?

Contact a registered trainer and express your interest in owning outright or having a share in a jumping horse.

The trainer will then find a suitable match for you and let you know what your investment will be. Once you pay the trainer for your share and complete a Transfer Of Ownership form

with all your details you will be ready to go!

What does my horse jump over?

When a horse is learning they start over small obstacles like logs and tyres. They can also be free schooled over obstacles in a bull ring without a rider on their back. As they progress they will trial and then jump over hurdles and/or steeplechase fences.

What does my horse have to do to be able to compete in a jumps race?

Your horse needs to have had two qualifying jumping trials to the satisfaction of the Stewards.

Does my horse need to qualify each year?

Once your horse has qualified there is an annual requirement for him to have one trial to the satisfaction of the Stewards which is part of his fitness regime.

What if my horse is too slow or uncompetitive over hurdle fences?

You have the option to compete in Steeplechase races where the tempo of the race is slower.

What distance will my horse compete over when he is jumping?

All jumps races are a minimum of 3200m.

How will I know where my horse is racing?

Your trainer will be in touch with you regarding your horses’ progress. When it is nominated and accepted to run in a race, Racing Australia will send you an email advising this. Then, when your horse has competed, Racing Australia will send you an email advising of the placing and a link for you to watch the replay of the race.

How often does a jumping horse run?

There is a jumps programme each year which lists the possible options for horses to compete. It will be up to your trainer, owner(s) and your horse which will determine how many runs they have and how often.

How long can my horse race over jumps?

No horse in Australia is permitted to race past 13 years of age. Your jumping horse can race right up to that age. Jumps horses are trained over longer distances and compete at a slower tempo; they often race to an older age than horses racing on the flat.

What is the best age for a jumping horse?

4 years old to 12 years old.

Do horses like to jump?

Jumping is a natural skill for a horse – they jump a variety of obstacles in the wild and even in their paddocks.

Jumping for racehorses is a natural career progression from flat racing. They often have a “new lease of life” once you start schooling them over jumps.

Do some horses take longer to learn to jump than other horses?

As with any skill, there are those who very quickly grasp the new challenge, while others need a little more time and supervision to learn and be proficient. Each horse is individual, there is a minimum capability they must achieve before they are allowed to compete in a trial or race.

Who looks after the interests of the jumps jockeys in Australia?

The jumps jockeys come under the care and assistance of the Australian Jockeys Association who has a keen interest in their health and welfare both on and off the horse. Each state also has a jockeys representative body.

What is a stayer?

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

Do jumps horses wear tongue ties?

Following a recommendation from the Veterinary and Analytical Committee (VAC) and recent endorsement by the Chairmen of Stewards Committee (COSC), Racing Australia is amending the Tongue Ties Policy. The Policy is part of the National Equipment Register and will take effect on 1 April 2020.

Read the full media release by Racing Australia.

How should the Riding Crop be used in Jumps Racing?

The crop shouldn’t be used as a punisher after a behaviour, but purely for reinforcing the right response (such as jumping).

Who is the Australian Jumps Racing Association (AJRA) and what role do they play in the Racing Industry?

The AJRA is a key industry stakeholder. Its role is to continuously assess and support every component of jumps racing which contributes to an efficient and effective growing industry.

More recently they have been embracing the fast moving digital marketing landscape complimenting their traditional communication mediums.

Their engagement with all participants is essential to this successful outcome; and they are largely supported through memberships and sponsorships.

Some examples of ongoing initiatives are:

  • increasing field sizes and betting turnover;
  • increasing prizemoney;
  • ensuring a balance of appropriate races for all participants through programming;
  • working with RVL & Clubs for a more even distribution of races and trials between East and West Victoria;
  • supporting initiatives designed to further develop jockey skills;
  • inputting to containment and reduction of costs for jumps transportation;
  • working with Racing Victoria (RV) on all aspects of safety and the health and well being of participants (both 2 and 4 legged);
  • encouraging new owners, trainers, jockeys & members to our industry.

What is the structure of the AJRA?

The AJRA is a Not for Profit organisation, managed as a Committee. All Committee members are voluntary, have a passion for jumps racing, and have depth of knowledge and experience in the industry.

What are the five key focus areas of the Australian Jumps Racing Association?

  1. To maintain a professional organisation to support the industry of Australian Jumps Racing
  2. To increase crowds at jumps races by creating a broader interest in the sports through industry engagement
  3. To engage a passional equine community including trainers, jockeys, owners, members, and stakeholders.
  4. To increase the amount of horses involved and advocate the quality of horsemanship skills and equine welfare, before, during, and after jumps racing.
  5. To work with stakeholders to increase wagering.