There are several types of horse racing. A harness race is one in which horses pull a sulky with a driver. A turf race is one conducted on a grass surface. A flat race is ran on the dirt with no obstacles, and a jump race involves barriers that a horse must navigate during the race. But what is meant by a bumper race? We get asked this question from time to time at EZ Horse Betting, and here is the answer.
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What is a Bumper Race?
Flat racing is the most popular type of horse racing in North America. On other continents such as Europe, jump races or steeplechases are still popular. These races are ran on a grass track which contains high fences at various intervals. The horses in the race must jump over the obstacles while racing.
A bumper race is an event which is contested under jump racing rules but contains no obstacles. This type of race is often used to prepare horses that have no experience competing on a flat surface. The only way a horse can enter a bumper race is if they have never entered a race on the flat. Many young horses may be entered in such events.
The rules of jump racing require that no starting gate is used. The horses must begin their race from a walk-up start behind a rope that has been stretched across the track. When the rope drops, the horses are free to begin the race.
Why is it Called a Bumper Race?
The reason for the name isn’t exactly clear, although many suspect that bumper races were so named because they often involve amateur riders and horses with little experience. The races are a proving ground of sorts.
During these races, the inexperience of the riders can often cause them to bump into one another, hence the name. It can be quite amusing to watch a bumper race because of the rough race riding that occurs. It is not uncommon for a rider to be thrown from a horse during the event. While this is exciting to watch, it can be dangerous for the riders and horses that are involved.
Can You Bet on a Bumper Race?
It is somewhat rare for a bumper race to appear on the betting menu of an online racebook. These races are exclusively contested outside of North America, so American racebooks have little interest in making them available as betting events. If they did, the races would be very hard to handicap. There simply isn’t enough information on most of the horses involved to make a sound betting decision.
At most tracks, the bumper races are carded at the end of the racing day. This makes them something of an unsanctioned, non-betting event. It is also rare for these races to receive betting at the live track. Those who wish to bet on jump events will find that many online racebooks offer jump racing on their menus. Just check out the tracks in Europe and you will find plenty of steeplechase racing to choose from.
The History of Bumper Races
Bumper races actually have a long and colorful history. They are technically referred to in Britain and Ireland as a National Hunt Flat Race, and they can trace their origins to 1891. The decision was made to create a distinction between hunting horses and racing horses, and the events were born and assigned their own set of rules.
These races are used to train horses that are preparing for a jump racing career. The horses that compete in them must be less than 7 years of age. It is not uncommon for a horse than has competed in other types of racing to be trained as a jumper, and bumper races give them the experience they need.
Horse racing is certainly full of interesting facts and events. One of the best ways to learn about racing is to create an account with one of our recommended online racebooks. You can start wagering right away from your computer, phone, or tablet.