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Wednesday, 13 November, 2002, 21:42 GMT
The major races
Tony McCoy steers Bounce Back to victory in the 2002 Attheraces Gold Cup at Sandown
Attheraces Gold Cup: The season's final big handicap
The National Hunt season is structured around three major meetings.

The first of these is the King George VI meeting which takes place at Kempton Park in December.

The season then builds up to the highlight of the calendar, the Cheltenham Festival in March.

  Season's top five handicaps
Thomas Pink Gold Cup 2m4f (Cheltenham) November
Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup 3m2f (Newbury) November
Tote Gold Trophy 2m (Newbury) February
Grand National 4m4f (Aintree) April
Attheraces Gold Cup 3m5f (Sandown) April

There is a further peak in April with Aintree's Grand National meeting.

Like events on the Flat calendar, National Hunt races are graded according to their importance.

The top events are Grade One races - the Flat equivalent is a s Group One race.

All of these races are weight-for-age events, which means horses all carry the same weight, although certain allowances are made, for example, for younger horses.

The other form of race is a handicap, where horses are allotted differing weights according to their ability, with the better quality horses getting more to carry.

The idea is to make the race more even.

The most famous handicap is the Grand National.

Grade One races

December

Tingle Creek Chase 2m (Sandown)
Long Walk Hurdle 3m2f (Ascot)
Feltham Novices Chase 3m (Kempton Park)
King George VI Chase 3m (Kempton Park)
Christmas Hurdle 2m (Kempton Park)
Finale Junior Hurdle 2m (Chepstow)
Challow Hurdle 2m5f (Newbury)

January

Tolworth Hurdle 2m (Sandown)
Cleeve Hurdle 2m5f (Cheltenham)

February

Scilly Isles Novices Chase 2m4f (Sandown)
Ascot Chase 2m3f (Ascot)

March

Supreme Novices Hurdle 2m (Cheltenham)
Arkle Chase 2m (Cheltenham)
Champion Hurdle 2m (Cheltenham)
Royal & SunAlliance Hurdle 2m5f (Cheltenham)
Queen Mother Champion Chase 2m (Cheltenham)
Royal & SunAlliance Chase 3m (Cheltenham)
Champion Bumper 2m (Cheltenham)
Triumph Hurdle 2m (Cheltenham)
Stayers' Hurdle 3m (Cheltenham)
Gold Cup 3m2f (Cheltenham)

April

Melling Chase 2m4f (Aintree)
Sefton Novices Hurdle 3m1f (Aintree)
Maghull Novices Chase 2m (Aintree)
Aintree Hurdle 2m4f (Aintree)


Horses and courses

People

Races

Betting
Links to more Horse Racing stories are at the foot of the page.


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