Cheltenham November Meeting Betting Tips – 15th to 17th November 2019

There may have already been a handful of high quality jumps meetings in Britain and Ireland by the time mid-November rolls around, but for many it is Cheltenham’s three-day November Meeting which signifies the moment that the latest National Hunt campaign really begins to find its stride.

Taking place at the spiritual home of the jumping game, and held over a punter-friendly Friday to Sunday, this meeting regularly sees a number of the stars from the previous season rock up at Prestbury Park. Many of these contenders may have bigger targets further down the line – including back here in March – but with 11 of the 18 contests on offer being at Listed level or above, these races are certainly well worth winning in their own right.

Please be aware that racing on Friday 15th November has been abandoned. See below for any rescheduled race times.

 

About the Cheltenham November Meeting

The Cheltenham Festival, which lasts for four days each March, is unquestionably the event that Cheltenham Racecourse is best known for. Yet the venue is also used for a number of other high-profile meetings throughout the year, with the November Meeting being one of them. Originally known as the Cheltenham Open, the meeting’s name was changed after an agreement to fully differenciate themselves from golf's Open Championship that shares a similar name.

The November Meeting is considered by many to be the start of the jump racing season, despite the facts that other jump events take place before it. That is because of Cheltenham Racecourse’s importance to jump racing, with perhaps only Aintree, the Grand National host, rivalling it to the claim of being the ‘home of jump racing’.

Winter and Spring are the seasons for jump racing rather than flat and the November Meeting is when horses truly get to test themselves on a challenging course.

Changing Names from the Open Meeting

The Open, sometimes referred to as the British Open, is one of the most prestigious golfing events in the world. Organised and run by the Royal & Ancient, it took place for the first time in Scotland in 1860. Given the explosion of social media usage, where everything has a hashtag and something ‘trending’ on Twitter is a desired outcome, the R&A and Jockey Club came together to decide what was to be done about the golfing event and horse racing meeting having the same name, The Open.

The decision was that the Open at Cheltenham would become the November Meeting. The choice to alter the name of the horse racing event rather than the golfing one was at least partly due to the fact that Royal & Ancient’s golf competition has been running for significantly longer than the one hosted by Cheltenham Racecourse. It also helps that Cheltenham host an event called the April Meeting every year, meaning that the new name still fitted in with the branding.

The Three Days of the Meeting

The November Meeting is held over three days, offering punters plenty of opportunities to place a bet or two. Day One is typically referred to as Countryside Day, chiefly because of the ties to the Countryside Alliance that have stalls telling racegoers about their work. Day Two is Gold Cup Day, which probably gives you all of the information you need about it! Day Three, meanwhile, has the rather less glamorous and more boring moniker of November Meeting Sunday.

Day One: Countryside Day

Countryside Day offers four Class 2 races, with each asking something slightly different of the participants. In the Amateur Riders Handicap Steeple Chase, for example, amateur jockeys get to run their horses over the Old Course for more than three miles. In the Handicap Chase, meanwhile, horses aged four and over run for about a mile and a half, making it a much quicker race.

Day Two: Gold Cup Day

Day Two of the November Meeting sees the running of the Betvictor Gold Cup, which boasts a name that has long been linked to Cheltenham Racecourse. That is more commonly associated with the Gold Cup that occurs during the March Festival, of course, but the race that takes place in November is just as worthy of a mention.

The fact that the racing takes place on a Saturday and that it’s arguably the best day of the November Meeting means that the organisers find the time to squeeze another race into the schedule compared to the Friday and the Sunday.

Day Three: November Meeting Sunday

The final day of the November Meeting gets underway with the Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle, which is also the longest of the day’s races. It’s noteworthy for the fact that it’s one of the qualifying races for the Challenger Staying Hurdle race that takes place later in the jump season. It’s not the most prestigious of the races that you can watch, but it’s certainly an exciting one to get things underway.

Three Grade 2, one Grade 3 and a Listed race all join the Conditional Jockeys’ one that gets proceedings underway. Races two and three are similar to each other in terms of how long they last and how many fences need to be jumped, with the only major difference being that the second of the day is only open to novice horses.

In terms of which race is considered by most to be the feature race of Day Three, you’re looking at the Greatwood Hurdle that comes fourth in the list above. It can be used as something of a test event for the Champion Hurdle at the Festival in March, actually running longer than it and therefore requiring even more stamina from its participants.

November Meeting Race List

All of the 19 races that take place over the three days are listed in the table below.

RacePrize MoneyAgesObstacles
Day One – Countryside Day
Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase £26,400 4 Years Old + 20 fences
Novices' Handicap Hurdle £16,400 3 Years Old + 8 hurdles
BetVictor Handicap Chase £45,000 4 Years Old + 13 fences
Novices' Chase £25,000 4 Years Old + 16 fences
Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase £25,000 5 Years Old + 32 fences
Ballymore Novices' Hurdle £32,000 4 Years Old + 10 hurdles
Day Two – November Meeting Saturday
Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle £32,000 3 Years Old 8 hurdles
Novices' Chase £25,000 5 Years Old + 20 fences
BetVictor Handicap Chase £60,000 4 Years Old + 22 fences
BetVictor Gold Cup £160,000 4 Years Old + 16 fences
Handicap Hurdle £40,000 4 Years Old + 12 hurdles
Intermediate Handicap Hurdle £25,000 3 Years Old + 10 hurdles
Mares' Standard Open NH Flat Race £22,000 4-6 Years Old None
Day Three – November Meeting Sunday
Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle £16,800 3 Years Old + 10 hurdles
Arkle Trophy Trial Novices' Chase £35,000 4 Years Old + 13 fences
Schloer Chase £75,000 4 Years Old + 13 fences
Greatwood Handicap Hurdle £100,000 4 Years Old + 8 hurdles
Supreme Trial Novices' Hurdle £32,000 4 Years Old + 8 hurdles
Standard Open NH Flat Race £22,000 4-6 Years Old None

November Meeting Feature Races

Whilst there's interest in each of the races run over the meeting, we've picked out some of the key races here to cover in more detail.

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

Whilst all races are definitely worth watching, it’s the final race on day one that that many consider to be the most interesting. First run in 1996, it was promoted to Grade 2 when it was given its current name in 2008.

Lasting for more than two miles and featuring ten hurdles during its running, it is open to horses aged four and over that are still novices, it’s a race that many punters like to keep an eye on in order to get an inkling of what might happen during the Novices’ Hurdle that takes place during the Cheltenham Festival. There are a few weight things to draw your attention to, which are as follows:

  • Weight: 11 stone
  • 7 pound allowance for mares and fillies
  • 5 pound penalty for winners of Class 1 weight-for-age hurdle races
  • 3 pound penalty for winners of Class 2 weight-for-age or Class 1 handicap hurdle races

The BetVictor Gold Cup

Without doubt, the most important race on day two is the BetVictor Gold Cup, which comes slap bang in the middle of the race schedule. First run in 1960, it takes place over more than two miles and is a Grade 3 offering. There are fifteen fences to be run during it, with horses aged four and over eligible to participate. It’s a handicap race, so there are no specific weight requirements of restrictions as the handicapper does their best to level the playing field. Run left-handed, the purse for the race in 2018 was £160,000.

Despite its name, it’s a race that some like to watch out for if they’re hoping to place a bet on the Grand National that takes place at Aintree in April of the following year rather than the one of with the same moniker at Cheltenham in March. Gay Trip won the Gold Cup in 1969, the National in 1970 then the Gold Cup again in 1971. The Stable Plate Handicap Chase at the Cheltenham Festival is also one that winners of this often go on to do well in.

BetVictor Handicap Chase

This is a race that has had many sponsors over the years, meaning that between 1987 and 1998 it was known as the Flowers Original Handicap Chase before becoming the Hoegaarden Handicap Chase in 1999. In 2012 it was briefly known as the Henrietta Knight Handicap Chase, which was a name given in honour of Henrietta Knight who trained the thee-time Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate and had not long retired at that point.

As the name suggests, this is a handicap offering for chasers that have a maximum weight of eleven stone and twelve pounds. Open to four-year-olds, it lasts for a distance of three miles, three furlongs and seventy-one yards. In 2018 the prize pot was £60,000 and just shy of £34,000 of that went to the winner. Stormez is the only horse to win it more than once at the time of writing, whilst Tony McCoy is the most successful jockey and Martin Pipe the leading trainer.

Prestbury (Triumph Trial) Juvenile Novices' Hurdle

This race is for novice hurdlers that are three-years-old and it lasts for around two miles and half a furlong. There are eight hurdles that competitors will need to navigate. It is a Grade 2 race and has been since it achieved that status back 2004. It boasts a weight system worth knowing about, which is as follows:

  • Weight: 10 stone 12 pounds
  • Fillies and mares get a 7 pound allowance
  • There’s a 5 pound penalty for horses that have won a Class 1 weight-for-age hurdle
  • There’s a 3 pound penalty for horses that have won either a Class 2 weight-for-age or a Class 1 handicap hurdle

Mares' Standard Open NH Flat Race

Few National Hunt meetings are complete without a National Hunt flat race being run in them at some point and the Cheltenham November Meeting is no exception. Another race that ‘does what it says on the tin’, this flat race is open to mares and fillies that are aged between four and six. The weight for the race is eleven stone and there’s a four pound penalty for horses that have won a Class 1 race.

Taking place over two miles and eighty-seven yards, the race is run left-handed around the Old Course. It lasts for about two miles and half a furlong and has had a number of different names since its inaugural running in 2013. Perhaps the most exciting outing to date came in 2016 when My Khaleesi and Irish Roe finished in a dead heat for jockeys Wayne Hutchinson and Graham Lee.

Arkle Trophy Trial Novices’ Chase

Previously known as the Coventry Novices' Chase and classed as a Listed offering, it took on the moniker of the November Novices’ Chase when it was promoted to a Grade 2 race in 1994. It has enjoyed a few different sponsors over the years, such as The Independent newspaper between 2000 and 2011 and the Racing Post from 2012 onwards. When the Racing Post took it over they gave it the name of the Arkle Trophy Trial Novices’ Chase.

As the name tells you, this is a race for novice chasers. It is run on the Old Course over a distance of around one mile, seven furlongs and one hundred and ninety-nine yards. There are twelve fences that competitors will need to make their way over as smoothly as possible if they’re to have any chance of winning it. It’s for horses aged four and up, with the fact that it’s for novices meaning no horse has won it more than once. Jockeys have though, including Richard Dunwoody, Richard Johnson and Ruby Walsh, who have all won it four times at the time of writing.

Greatwood Hurdle

The feature race of the final day for many and one which most of you will be wanting to watch considering the information it can provide for the Champion Hurdle later in the season. Despite running under numerous different titles over the years because of sponsorship deals, it is still known by most as the Greatwood Hurdle because of the sponsorship on behalf of the charity that works for the welfare of retired horses.

First run in 1987, the race is for horses aged four and up and lasts for two miles and eighty-seven yards. There are eight hurdles during its running and it’s a handicap offering. For a time it was a Listed race, but it was given its Grade 3 status in 2004 and its kept it ever since. No horse has won it more than once, but 2007 winner Sizing Europe went on to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase four years later. Perhaps another race to bear in mind for previous winners if you want to play the long game.

Sharp Novices' Hurdle

The Sharp Novices' Hurdle is a Grade 2 race that is run over two miles and eighty-seven yards. It used to be run over two miles and was part of the December meeting at Cheltenham, being extended to two miles an a furlong in 1992 before being cut to the length that its currently run over two years later. That was also when it was moved to the November Meeting, where it has remained ever since.

Open to horses aged four and over, it takes place left-handed on the Old Course and has some weight information that you’ll be interested to know:

  • Weight: 11 stone
  • 7 pound allowance for fillies and mares
  • There’s a 5 pound penalty for horses that have won a Class 1 weight-for-age hurdle race
  • There’s a 3 pound penalty for horses that have won a Class 2 weight-for-age or a Class 1 handicap hurdle race

The Sharp Novices’ Hurdle is, as the name tells you, for novice hurdlers and they’ll need to be proficient enough to navigate its eight hurdles if they hope to cross the finish line before any of their rivals. Obviously no horse has won it more than once, given that in doing so they’d no longer be a novice, but seven different jockeys have. Each of Harry Cobden, Jamie Osborne, Richard Dunwoody, Richard Johnson, Ruby Walsh, Timmy Murphy and Tom Scudamore have won it twice at the time of writing.