There are two main disciplines of horse racing in Ireland - Flat Racing and National Hunt (or jumps) racing.
As the name indicates, this type of horse racing is run on the flat - with no jumps. Flat races are run over distances ranging from 5 furlongs (5/8 mile or 1,000 metres) to 20 furlongs (2 1/2 miles or 4,000 metres). They are started from stalls and generally run over shorter distances. The flat racing season runs from mid-March to mid-November.
National Hunt Racing / Jumps
Tipperary is famous for its National Hunt or jumps Racing. National Hunt races are started at a tape barrier and all jump races are contested over at least 2 miles. During a National Hunt race the horses and jockeys have to jump a number of obstacles. Jump horses mature more slowly and don't run until they are 4 or 5 years old. Jump racing goes on all year round with the key festivals in Ireland being Leopardstown at Christmas and Dublin Racing Festival, Fairyhouse at Easter, Punchestown in the Spring and Galway in the Summer.
Types of Jump Races
Steeplechase - Run over "fences" which vary in size.
Hurdle - Run over obstacles measuring about 3 feet 1 inch in height.
Point to Point - Run over fences on designated farmland throughout Ireland in the Spring and Autumn. Point to points are like a nursery for young jump horses.
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