November Meeting: Betting Tips, Stats & History

The November Meeting at Cheltenham is one of the most popular events in the racing calendar. But, since the meeting inauguration in 2000, the event has been referred to as the Cheltenham Open, only changing its name to the November Meeting in time for the start of 2017 event.

The change that’s been made has been for a pretty simple reason in that it clashed with The Open that’ hosted within golf each year. It was reported that the head guys at Cheltenham and representatives with the R and A (Royal and Ancient), golfs governing body, agreed that a name change would be better for all parties involved and so, the November Meeting was born. 

Cheltenham November Meeting Betting Tips for 2018

The summer months undoubtedly have their benefits: sunshine, the start of the new football season, and more quality flat racing action than you shake a stick at. For fans of the jumping game though, those summer months can seem the longest of all. For many, the end of that long wait for top class jumping action is signalled by the first big festival of the season at the home of National Hunt Racing, Cheltenham racecourse.

It is across these three days in November – always held over a fan friendly Friday to Sunday – that the season really begins to take shape. Many of the potential stars of the year will make their reappearance here, with the meeting featuring a number of early trials for the biggest festival of them all back here in March. Let’s take a look at what each of the three days has in store.

Jump To: Day 1 Tips (Friday)Day 2 Tips (Saturday)Day 3 Tips (Sunday)

Horses Jumping

Day 1 – Friday 16th November 2018

TimeRaceGrade / LengthTip
12:40 Markel Handicap Chase Class 3 / 3m 1f Station Master
13:15 Swanee Handicap Hurdle Class 3 / 2m ½f Snapdragon Fire
13:50 BetVictor Handicap Chase Class 2 / 2m Movie Legend
14:25 Steel Plate Novices’ Chase Class 2 / 2m 4f Jerrysback
15:00 Glenfarclas Handicap Chase Class 2 / 3m 6f Tiger Roll
15:35 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Grade 2 / 2m 5f Double Treasure

A relatively low-key start to the meeting on the Friday, as Cheltenham eases us back in gently. A couple of Class 3 events for the Amateur Jockeys and Novice Hurdlers kick off the day’s action before we step things up a notch for the first big handicap of the meeting.

BetVictor Handicap Chase

Likely to be the most popular betting heat of the day, the 2m BetVictor Handicap Chase is always a tough race to call. Paul Henderson has taken the past two renewals and looks set to rely on defending champion Doitforthevillage this time around. It is a pair of runners from the top two British jumping yards who are currently vying for favouritism though.

The Paul Nicholls runner, Modus, is the current favourite at 3/1 with Coral having confirmed his wellbeing with a tenacious win over this course and distance last time out. Don’t rule out Theinval (5/1 with BetVictor) for Nicky Henderson though. This one has some excellent form in the book and his trainer has taken this three times in the past nine years.

Steel Plate and Sections Novices’ Chase

Possibly the most informative race on the card is race four, the Steel Plate and Sections Novices’ Chase. This may only be a Class 2 affair but has often been taken by a subsequent Graded race winner. Grands Crus, Dynaste, Taquin Du Seuil, More Of That and Finian’s Oscar all featuring on the roll of honour in the past 10 years alone. The 2018 edition looks a wide open affair. Nicky Henderson’s, Mr Whipped is currently shading favouritism on most lists, but faces stiff competition from the Paul Nicholls duo of Ibis Du Rheu and Dynamite Dollars and Colin Tizzard’s previous course winner, Pingshou.

Glenfarclas Handicap Chase

Race five sees a field of familiar names locking horns once again over the cross-country course. Enda Bolger is the name most synonymous with success in this type of event and has Auvergnat and Josies Orders amongst the entries here. With course and distance winners Urgente De Gregaine and Bless The Wings also in the field, this looks set to be competitive.

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

The classiest race of the opening day is the finale. The Grade 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle generally throws up a pretty smart performer, with the best recent example being 2012 scorer, Coneygree, who later went on to grab Cheltenham Gold Cup glory. The Gordon Elliott runner, Dinons, who is seeking a six-timer here, currently heads the betting at 5/2 with BetVictor.

Day 2 – Saturday 17th November 2018

TimeRaceGrade / LengthTip
12:40 JCB Triumph Trial Grade 2 / 2m ½f Never Adapt
13:15 Novices’ Chase Class 2 / 3m ½f The Worlds End
13:50 Handicap Chase Grade 3 / 3m 3½f Calett Mad
14:25 BetVictor Gold Cup Handicap Chase Grade 3 / 2m 4f Romain De Senam
15:00 RFS Handicap Hurdle Listed / 3m First Assignment
15:30 Intermediate Handicap Hurdle Class 2 / 2m 5f Aye Right
16:00 Standard Open NHF Race Listed / 2m ½f Danse Idol

JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle

The youngsters kick off the action on the Saturday in the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle. Connections will have high hopes for the three year olds lining up here, in a race where the market has often proven to be a useful guide – six of the past seven winners have been priced at 15/8 or shorter. Likely favourite this time around is Nicky Henderson’s French recruit, Never Adapt. Making her stable debut here, this one hacked up on her sole start in France and goes in the famous green and gold silks of JP McManus which have been carried to glory in each of the past two editions of this. Novices’ Chase

From the promising hurdlers, we move on to the up and coming chasers for race two of the Novices’ Chase. Won by the brilliant Thistlecrack in 2016, it is the Tom George runner, The Worlds End, who is likely to go off favourite if taking up this engagement this year having bolted up on chase debut at the back end of October. Fellow last time out winner Count Meribel and the four-timer seeking Judgement Day are others likely to prove popular on the day. Handicap Chase

Back to back ultra-competitive handicaps form the centrepiece of the Saturday card. The first of which being the 3m3½f Handicap Chase. Most interesting amongst the current entries for this is the Mark Bradstock trained 2015 Gold Cup king, Coneygree. He hasn’t shown much in his two most recent starts and will be saddled with top weight here, but if anywhere near his best he may take some pegging back. Last year’s champ, Perfect Candidate looks set to defend his crown for Fergal O’Brien and will be particularly dangerous should the rains arrive. It is Singlefarmpayment – who invariably goes well around here – who currently heads the betting at 7/1 with bet365 though.

BetVictor Gold Cup

Next up the big betting race of the week, the BetVictor Gold Cup. With £160,000 up for grabs this will be as fiendishly competitive as ever, with the majority of the major yards expected to be represented. The prize fell to the ever-popular Splash Of Ginge from the Nigel Twiston-Davies yard last season, and the now 10 year old, looks set to return for another crack. One year older and 10lbs higher than last year, he’s amongst the outsiders this time around. First and second in the Close Brothers Novices’ Handicap Chase here in March, it is Mister Whitaker and Rather Be who currently sit at the head of the betting.

Another duo of handicap contests and a concluding bumper for the mares close out a cracking day of action.

Day 3 – Sunday 18th November 2018

TimeRaceGrade / LengthTip
13:15 Ibberson Handicap Hurdle Class 3 / 2m 5f Ballyhome
13:50 Arkle Trial Chase Grade 2 / 2m Claimantakinforgan
14:25 Shloer Chase Grade 2 / 2m Sceau Royal
15:00 Greatwood Handicap Hurdle Grade 3 / 2m ½f Storm Rising
15:30 Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle Grade 2 / 2m ½f Anytime Will Do
16:00 Sheriff Standard Open NHF Race Listed / 2m ½f Thyme Hill

There aren’t too many racing festivals over the course of the year which run on into the Sunday, but this one does and serves up what must be one of the best Sundays of racing action of the entire season.

Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices’ Chase

The conditional jockeys are given their chance to shine in the opener before we move onto the first of the day’s big Cheltenham Festival trials as the inexperienced chasers line up for the Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices’ Chase. Defi Du Seuil was the best juvenile hurdler in the game two seasons ago only to badly flop last term. Can the Philip Hobbs runner rediscover his best now sent over the fences? We will find out here. Chief amongst the opposition are the Nicky Henderson trained Claimantakinforgan and Kayley Woolacott’s Grade 1 winning hurdler, Lalor.

Shloer Chase

The classiest chase of the meeting comes in race three as the Grade 2 performers tackle the 2m trip of the Shloer Chase. Plenty of famous names on the list of previous winners here, including Sir Anthony McCoy’s final Cheltenham Festival winner, Uxizandre and the majestic, magnificent, Sprinter Sacre. It’s doubtful we will have anything of the calibre of the Nicky Henderson legend in this year’s field, but a few of these have already scored at the very highest level, including champion chaser, Special Tiara and current market leader, Sceau Royal (6/4 with Ladbrokes) from the yard of Alan King.

Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle

The day’s feature of the Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle may “only” be a Grade 3, but a number of these will have the season’s major Grade 1 events as viable targets. Prominent amongst these is the Nicky Henderson trained mare, Verdana Blue. Two from two this season, including in the Elite Hurdle last time out, the Champion Hurdle itself is the stated objective for this one. At 9/2 with bet365 she’s the current favourite for this race, despite being right towards the head of the weights. Dr Richard Newland’s Storm Rising absolutely bolted up over this course and distance last time out and looks one of the more interesting each way options at 11/1 with Ladbrokes.

Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle

The penultimate contest of the day sees the hurdling hopefuls line up in the Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle. Dodging Bullets, Cue Card and Altior all feature on the list of winners in the past 10 years, suggesting that this is a race well worth keeping an eye on. With no fewer than eight last time out winners amongst the current field of 11, this will likely be a highly informative as to the current pecking order. Olly Murphy’s course and distance winner, Thomas Darby, is the only unbeaten runner in the field, but it is stablemate Itchy Feet who currently heads the betting at 3/1 with Coral. Another to make note of, particularly should it come up soft on the day, is the Nicky Martin runner, Colonel Custard. Of those towards the head of the betting, he’s the only one to have shown he handles give underfoot.

Sheriff Standard Open NHF Race

Last of the meeting’s 19 races is a bumper for runners aged between four and six years of age. Even this event has pointed the way to big things in the future, with the talented Definitly Red and Champion Hurdler, Rock On Ruby amongst the previous winners.

About the November Meeting (aka The Cheltenham Open)

The meeting isn’t all that old in the grand scheme of horse racing, especially when you consider it to its higher profile brother, the Cheltenham Festival, which is ran in March. But, the November Meeting does hold a huge amount of significance, given that it’s often regarded as the first official event to kick off the jump season. 

For those of you who are new to horse racing or even those who are familiar with the sport, you may be thinking that jump racing takes place pretty much all year round, and you’d be right. But, the November meet coincides with the end of the summer flat season, so this is why the start of the proper jump season kicks off with this meeting. 

The meeting takes place at Cheltenham racecourse and is run over three days, from Friday to Sunday. Each of the days have a slightly different feel to it, with the opening Friday (Countryside day) where huge amounts of money are raised for Countryside Alliance and Injured Jockey Fund. The BetVictor Gold Cup Day (Saturday) is one of the finest days racing of the year and the Sunday is often thought of as the family day, where masses of entertainment outside of the racing is on offer. 

The Course

Cheltenham Racecourse Home Straight

Cheltenham is one of the finest racecourses in the UK. It’s probably best known for hosting the Cheltenham Festival, along with iconic races such as the Gold Cup, Champion Hurdle and Queen Mother Champion Chase, amongst others.

Racing has occurred at Cheltenham since 1815, but the first reports were that of races at Notting Hill and on Cleeve Hill in 1818, both areas in and around Cheltenham. As the popularity of horse racing continued to rise, so did the number of people watching the sport. It was reported that crowds in excess of 30,000 would turn up, much to the dismay of the Parish, brining huge dismay to the set up. In fact, it got so bad that the grandstand from the original site was burnt down in 1830. 

A new home was needed and the course was eventually moved to Prestbury Park in 1831, where it still resides today. As the course continued to develop, so did the amount of spectators it was able to attract. Today, this number sits at over 67,000, making it one of the largest in the UK. 

The racecourse is actually owned by the Jockey club, who took over ownership in 1964 to secure to future of the course. In that time they were able to own or part-own a number of other tracks throughout the UK, with profits getting redirected back into the sport. 

Over the last 50 years the course and the facilities have seen quite a change in terms of development. Expansions throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s saw main grand stands extended several times and also hospitality for more corporate offerings and even royal guests, should they have them. 

In 1990 a new stable complex was open, the parade ring extended and improved, but also that the inclusion of the cross-country course as well, now offering up 3 different courses to choose from. The late 90’s saw the complete removal of the original Tattersalls Grandstand, with a new, panoramic offering replacing it instead. 

Investment into meeting facilities, accommodation and even The Centaur, allows the racecourse to hold meetings such as the November Meeting, offering up more of a festival feel to it. The turn of the Millennium saw another £20mill invested and in 2015 they unveiled their all-new Princess Royal Stand, coming in at the costly sum of £45million. 

The Meeting

Run across the 3 days, the November Meeting is pretty much sold out across the 3 days, with each day offering up a variety of entertainment and racing. The meeting differs from the likes of the Festival, which is much more focussed around the racing, whereas this has some great racing, but also is an attempt to entice families and younger generations into the racing world. 

The Meeting is pretty much sold out for the 3 days and even though the Friday arguably has the stronger overall line up for the racing, it’s the Saturday and the Sunday that are the two most popular days, with over 60,000 spectators coming through the door each day. 

Day 1 (Countryside Day)

The Countryside Day is the opening day of the meeting and with it is a rather relaxed feel to it. Whilst the racing is important, the day is set out to raise much needed funds for a several charities that are involved with the sport, including the Countryside Alliance and the Injured Jockey’s Fund. 

There are 6 races that are run throughout the days racing kicking off with the Glenfarcles Veterans’’ Handicap Chase. The standout for the day is probably the Hyde Novices Hurdle, which is the third race of day. This is race often brings out some of the top horses within the industry and is raced at a furious pace over a demanding 2m 5f track. Some of the previous winners have included Coneygree, Fingal Bay and Shantou Village. 

The other races include the BetVictor Handicap Chase, Novices’ Chase, Novices’ Handicap and the Amateur Riders Handicap Chase. 

Away from the tack is a number of attractions, including live music from the likes of the Hip Cats and The Chip Shop Boys within boy the Best Mate Plaza and the Final Flight Bar. On top of that, you are able to soak up the Shopping Village that is now at the store which encourages local business to pitch up and allow punters to dive in to some of the best local produce in the land. 

2017 Day 1 Results (Countryside Day)

Race2017 ResultTrainer / JockeyPrize Money
Amateur Riders'
Handicap Chase
What A Moment
Sugar Baron
D Pipe / R O Harding
N Henderson / H Hunt
C Mann / R P Quinlan
Fairlight Novices'
Handicap Hurdle
Magic Dancer
Oxwich Bay
Champagne City
K Lee / R Patrick
E Williams / A Wedge
T George / A P Heskin
O Greenall / R Hawker
Handicap Chase
P Henderson / P Brennan
I Williams / W Kennedy
P Middleton / J Bowen
Novices' Chase 1. Finian's Oscar C Tizzard / B J Cooper £16,025
Cross Country
Handicap Chase
Kingswell Theatre
Vicomte Du Seuil
Urgent De Gregaine
M Scudamore / T Scudamore
E Clayeux / C Deutsch
E Clayeux / F De Giles
Novices' Hurdle
On The Blind Side
N Henderson / N de Boinville
D Skelton / H Skelton

Day 2 (Gold Cup Day)

The second day of the Meeting is that of Gold Cup Day and takes place on the Saturday. The day offers up 7 races throughout, one more than both the Friday and the Sunday and often demanding a premium in terms of tickets as a result. 

The highlight of the day comes in the form of the Gold Cup. The race is often seen as a warm up to the Gold Cup that is run in March at the Festival, offering a great opportunity for younger horses to make the step up in class needed to compete at the highest level. Some of the more notable names to have won the race included Our Vic, Imperial Commander, Exotic Dancer and Johns Spirit. 

Other races that are held on the Saturday include the Triumph Hurdle Trial, Novices Chase, Handicap Chase, Handicap hurdle and the Open Flat Race. 

Saturday’s entertainment comes in the form of the Hipcats the Best Mate Plaza, along with Lucky 15’s in The Centaur and the meetings stable band, The Chip Shop Boys in the Final Flight Bar. On top of that the Shopping Village will be open with a number of local and national stores. 

2017 Day 2 Results (Gold Cup Day)

Race2017 ResultTrainer / JockeyPrize Money
JCB Triumph Trial
Juvenile Hurdle
Apple's Shakira
N Henderson / B Geraghty
P Hobbs / R Johnson
Novices' Chase 1. Black Corton P Nicholls / B Frost £15,640
Handicap Chase
Perfect Candidate
Three Faces West
F O'Brien / P Brennan
P Nicholls / H Cobden
P Hobbs / R Johnson
Gold Cup
Handicap Chase
Splash Of Ginge
Le Prezien
N Twiston-Davies / T Bellamy
D Pipe / T Scudamore
P Nicholls / B Geraghty
I Williams / T O'Brien
Finance Solutions
Handicap Hurdle
Thomas Campbell
Rocky's Treasure
N Henderson / J Bowen
S Leech / P Brennan
K Bailey / D Bass
Martin & Co
Jewellers Intermediate
Handicap Hurdle
Coole Cody
Mischievious Max
Red Indian
Diable De Sivola
M Blake / B Powell
J P O'Brien / J J Slevin
B Pauling / N de Boinville
N Williams / L Kelly
Mares' Standard
Open National
Hunt Flat Race
Posh Trish
Grageelagh Girls
Pineapple Rush
P Nicholls / H Cobden
F O'Brien / P Brennan
P Hobbs / R Johnson

Day 3 (November Meeting Sunday)

Sunday is widely regarded as family day at the meeting and its one that is very popular for that exact reason. But the racing is some of the best of the whole meeting and even though just 6 races are on, we think they are the strongest across the board from the whole weekend. 

Tough to really pick one race that’s the standout for that days racing, but the top three are undoubtedly the Arkle Trails Novices’ Chase, Greatwood Hurdle and the Supreme Novices’ Trail Hurdle. If we had to pick, we would say the Novices’ hurlde was the strongest, simply because previous winners have included the likes of Altior, Cue Card and Moon Over Miami, to name just a few. 

The other three races that day include the Sholer Chase, conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle and the Jockey Club Standard Open National Hunt flat Race. 

The Sunday is the busiest day outside of the track, with a huge number of events and things to do. The family fun zone is set up for the day which includes things such as balloons, face painting, balloon artist, entertainment, pony plaiting, horse hoppers, colouring in and so much more. Celebrities such as Greg James and Chris Smith from Radio 1 are also on hand and they even allow under 12’s to eat for free in the Horseshoe Pavilion facility. Live music from the Hipcats is played all day at the Best Mate Plaza. 

2017 Day 3 Results (Sunday)

Race2017 ResultTrainer / JockeyPrize Money
Velcourt Conditional
Jockeys' Handicap
Melrose Boy
Charlie's Charm
Sheer Poetry
Lip Service
H Fry / K Edgar
G Cromwell / J Sherwood
R Woollacott / R Hawker
F O'Brien / R Patrick
Arkle Trophy Trial 1. North Hill Harvey D Skelton / H Skelton £19,933
Schloer Chase 1.
Fox Norton
Cloudy Dream
C Tizzard / B J Cooper
M Jefferson / B Hughes
Unibet Greatwood
Handicap Hurdle
Old Guard
A King / W Hutchinson
H Fry / T Scudamore
P Nicholls / B Frost
Supreme Trial
Novices' Hurdle
Slate House
Summerville Boy
C Tizzard / H Cobden
T George / A P Heskin
Standard Open
National Hunt
Flat Race
Crooks Peak
Air Navigator
P Hobbs / R Johnson
T George / A P Heskin
S Gardner / L Gardner


Cheltenham Racecourse

The November Meeting has been running since 2000, but it’s only been known in the current form for the 2017 onwards, previously being called the Cheltenham Open. As mentioned earlier in the article, the name was changed due to confusion between this and The Open (golf) tournament, as agreed by both the organisers and the R and A. 

The Gold Cup has actually been running since 1960, but was added to the November Meeting upon it’s inauguration in 2000. The Grade 3 National Hunt Chase has often been a great stepping stone to the more prestigious Gold Cup that’s run throughout the Cheltenham Festival. 

The race has the highest purse of the November Meeting with £160,000 in 2016 and is open to horses aged four and up. It’s run over the Old Course at Prestbury Park and as 2m 4 1/2f in total distance, with 15 fences for the horses to navigate over. 

The race has had numerous names over the last 50+ years, mainly through sponsors. The original sponsor was that of Mackeson and they were pride and place right up until 1995. Since then it’s been backed by Murphy’s, Thomas Pink, Paddy Power and now it’s current sponsors, BetVictor. 

There are two standout names associated with the race that are Tony McCoy and Martin Pipe. The former is the most successful jockey with 4 wins to his name, coming on Cyfor Malta in 1998, Lady Cricket in 2000, Shooting Light in 2001 and Exotic Dancer in 2006. Martin Pipe has trained 8 winners in total, more than any other trainer, ranging from 1987 with his first win with Beau Ranger, right up to 2005 with the legendary, Our Vic. 

Triumph Hurdle Trial

The Triumph Hurdle Trial is another of the standout races at the meeting and again, seen as a stepping stone for the more prestigious Triumph Hurdle held in the Festival in March. The race has been running since 1987 and there have been some big links between winner of this race and the Triumph Hurdle ‘proper’. 

The race is held on the Old Course at Cheltenham and is 2m 1/2f in total length. There are eight hurdles in total that the horses need to navigate over and is targeted towards three-year-old horses, essentially novices. 

The link between the two races is pretty staggering, and was highlighted in when 2016 winner Defi Du Seuil went on to win the 2017 Triumph Hurdle some 6 months later. The legendary Katchit was another to complete the same feat, winning the Trial in 2006 before going on to win the big one In 2007. 

November Novices Chase (Arkle Trail)

The November Novices’ Chase is another that is hotly contested and has been able to produce some massive names within the industry. The 2m race was upgraded to a Grade 2 status in 1994 and has been running since 1987. Its entrants are for 4 year olds and up and seen as important race in the horse racing calendar. 

Its importance is more outlined by the calibre of past winners than anything else, with its most notable being that of Best Mate. The horse won the event in 2000 before then going on to win the Gold Cup three times in 2002, 2003, and 2004, taking its career earnings past the £1million mark. On top of that the horse has also secured victory in the King George VI Chase, Ericsson Chase and Peterborough Chase, respectively. 

Sharp Novices Hurdle (Sky Bet Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle)

The Sharp Novices’ Hurdle is run on the Saturday of the November Meeting and with it has been able to provide a great hunting ground for novice hurdlers, aged 4 and above. The 2m 110yard course is run on the Old Course at Cheltenham and with it has seen a number of different sponsors, such as Opus energy and more recently, Sky Bet. 

This is another race that has allowed some of the industry’s best horses to flourish, with probably the most notable winner in recent times being that of Cue Card in 2010. Cue Card has been able to earn over £1.2million in career earnings, with success coming from the Ascot Chase, Ryanair Chase, King George VI Chase and Betfred Bowl, to name just a few. What’s been amazing to see from Cue Card is how long his career has been, earning his first career major in 2010 at the Champion Bumper to his latest coming from the Betfred Bowl in 2016. 

Altior is another notable name from the race, winning in 2015, before moving on to win the Supreme Novices just a year alter in 2016. He’s also managed to pick up three wins in 2017, including the Game Spirit Chase, Celebration Chase and probably the most notable, the Arkle Challenge Trophy. Looking forward to 2018, Altior has been hotly tipped to win the 2018 Champions Chase, which will be his biggest prize to date at the start of what looks an amazing career. 

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