'We just haven't got the novices coming through' - more short-term pain expected for British jump racing after classifications

Harry Skelton riding Grey Dawning en route to winning Turners Novices' Chase from Ginny's Destiny at Cheltenham
Grey Dawning and Ginny's Destiny: two of just six British-trained novice chasers rated 150+ compared with 23 in IrelandCredit: Edward Whitaker (

More short-term pain is expected at the top level in British jump racing following the publication of the Anglo-Irish jumps classifications for last season.

Since the classifications were restricted to horses rated 150 or above in the 2020-21 season, the number of British-trained horses to make the cut has more than halved from 111 to 55.

The number of British-trained hurdlers rated 150+ has fallen from 35 to 13 in the past four seasons, with last season's figure reduced by two compared with the 2022-23 campaign.

Britain was responsible for three of the top ten-rated hurdlers last season, with the top four – headed by Champion Hurdle winner State Man – trained in Ireland.

The number of 150+ rated chasers in Britain has fallen from 76 to 42 since the 2020-21 season. Last season's number dropped by six compared with the previous campaign.

Galopin Des Champs headed the top four chasers, who were trained in Ireland. Britain had four of the top 12 in Jonbon, Ahoy Senor, the ill-fated Shishkin and Ryanair winner Protektorat.

Turners Novices' Chase one-two Grey Dawning and Ginny’s Destiny were among six British-trained novice chasers to feature in the classifications compared with 23 Irish-trained novice chasers.

Martin Greenwood, BHA steeplechase handicap team leader, said: "We all understand the problems we're having in British jump racing at the moment and we can keep saying it's cyclical, and it possibly will be, but I don't know how long this cycle is going to be.

"I don't think there will be much change [in terms of dominance] next season. We just haven't got the novices coming through. If we have less novices coming through than we ever have, then where are the horses going to come from?

"I expect it to stay the same, certainly in the short term. We at the BHA are trying everything we can think of to improve these facts, but at the minute Ireland is definitely the top dog."

Sir Gino: Grade 1 winner at Aintree
Sir Gino: Grade 1 juvenile hurdle winner at AintreeCredit: Alan Crowhurst (Getty Images)

Aintree Grade 1 winner Sir Gino (152) was the only juvenile or novice hurdler to feature in the classifications who had recorded his figure for a British-based trainer.

Caldwell Potter (151) also featured for his efforts for Gordon Elliott, including a top-level win at Leopardstown in December, but has yet to run for his new trainer Paul Nicholls. The Jukebox Man (147) and Jango Baie (146) fell short of the 150+ requirement.

There were no British-trained novice hurdlers in the classifications the previous season.

Andrew Mealor, BHA hurdle handicap team leader, said: "It's really the novices that we want to see coming through for Britain as they're the horses for the next two, three, four years. In the very short term, we're probably not going to see much change as we're not seeing a flood of novices coming through who will go on to open company next season.

"Sir Gino is a tip-top juvenile but it's also a reflection on last season's two-mile novice hurdling division being a fairly below-average bunch that he rates higher than most at that distance."

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