Jockey Club Introduces Padded Hurdles Across All National Hunt Racecourses

In response to significant data highlighting the safety benefits for racehorses, the Jockey Club is set to implement padded hurdles at all 11 of its National Hunt racecourses. This decision follows the successful use of these hurdles at Exeter, Market Rasen, and Wincanton. According to the Industry Jump Racing Risk Model, padded hurdles have shown an 11 percent reduction in fall risk compared to traditional birch hurdles, as noted by the Horse Welfare Board.

Feedback from racecourse officials, veterinarians, and trainers indicates that the new hurdles also help reduce minor injuries like cuts, scrapes, and lacerations. The positive reception and substantial safety improvements observed at the trial courses have prompted the Jockey Club to expand the use of padded hurdles across all its jump racing venues, including prominent tracks such as Cheltenham and Aintree, by the 2026-27 season.

Jon Pullin, head of racing and clerk of the course at Cheltenham, stated, “After thorough research and analysis, it is clear that padded hurdles offer a safer alternative without compromising the excitement of the sport. Having seen their benefits at select racecourses since 2016, we are committed to rolling them out at all our National Hunt venues.”

This transition involves a significant investment from the Jockey Club and will encompass other key racecourses like Carlisle, Haydock, Huntingdon, Kempton, Sandown, and Warwick, ensuring enhanced safety for horses and maintaining the integrity of the sport for fans and participants alike.

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