As if to fully prove the point that top-class races are shared out more over the jumps than on the flat, the Fighting Fifth Hurdle is Newcastle’s only Group or Grade 1 race and yet is considered to be the number one trial for the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Staged every year in late November or early December, the Fighting Fifth takes place over two miles and half a furlong with the runners taking on nine hurdles along the way. Its importance is also highlighted by it being regarded as the first leg of the hurdling Triple Crown, along with the Christmas Hurdle and the big one at Cheltenham.
Past winners of this race who have gone on to glory in the Champion Hurdle include Comedy Of Errors, Night Nurse, Sea Pigeon, Kribensis, Punjabi, and modern legend Buveur D’Air.
The Fighting Fifth has been on the racing calendar since 1969 and was given its name to commemorate the “Fighting Fifth” the nickname given to the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.