Britain’s first schooling trials over hurdles have received considerable interest from the racing industry, with more than 80 horses travelling to Cheltenham racecourse to take part in tomorrow’s event (Tuesday 19 April).
Schooling trials were recommended in the British Horseracing Board’s jump racing review as a way of giving horses valuable racecourse experience and reducing the risk of injury in their first race.
Simon Claisse, clerk of the course said: “Trainers like Philip Hobbs, Charlie Mann and Victor Dartnall have been in touch to say, ‘fantastic, well done’.”
Eleven or 12 horses will run in each of the four trials, which will cover 14 furlongs including six flights of hurdles. A further three National Hunt flat trails will also take place during the day.
“The great majority of the horses taking part are unraced,” explains Claisse. “The remainder have raced only one or twice before.”
Horses will also sample all the procedures of a raceday, including stabling, pre-parade
and the parade ring. Each horse will be ridden by a registered jockey or a rider working for the trainer of the relevant horse.
The event is open to racegoers and the front of the grandstand, lawn and bars will be open. Admission is free and the first trial is scheduled to begin at midday.
Plans for future trials are currently under discussion, as the going at the host racetrack will be key to ensuring that inexperienced horses get the optimum benefits from the work.
“We will be unable to hold any further trials at Cheltenham this season due to the ground,” explains Claisse, ” but we will be getting together with interested parties after Tuesday to establish how we can take [the trials] forward for next season.”