The main handicap chase of Cheltenham’s November Meeting is Saturday’s Paddy Power Gold Cup, a race which runs the following day though is this classy Grade 3, the November Handicap Chase, formerly the BetVictor Handicap Chase.
At 3 miles and 3½ furlongs, this is almost a mile longer than the Gold Cup with winners going on to compete in a range of staying contests. West Approach, the 2019 winner, followed up with the Welsh National at Chepstow and Stayers’ Hurdle back at Cheltenham. The 2018 winner Rock The Kasbah went on to run in that season’s Grand National.
Next Race: TBD
The next renewal of this race has not been scheduled yet. We will update this once the schedule has been released for next season. The race info, trends and tips shown below will be updated for the next renewal once the final declarations have been made.
Last Run: 15th November 2020
- Winner: Ramses De Teillee
- SP: 11/2
- Trainer: David Pipe
- Jockey: Tom Scudamore
This Grade 3 Handicap offers a total of £45,000 in prize money and takes place on the third and final day of the Cheltenham November meeting. The contest sees the chasers tackle a trip of 3m3½f, with the ground at the track currently described as good to soft with some rain forecast over the weekend.
|Going||Distance||Grade||Prize Money||Runners||EW Terms|
|Good to Soft||3m3½f||Grade 3||£45,000||9 Runners||1/5 1-3|
November Handicap Chase Betting Tips
Note: The following tips are from 2020. Tips for the next renewal will be added once the final declarations have been made.
Martin Pipe is the leading trainer for this race with a total of four successes over the years. Colin Tizzard currently lies just one behind the legendary National Hunt handler in the standings though, and he will have high hopes of drawing level in 2020, as it is his runner, West Approach, who heads the betting as things stand.
There is a reasonably strong trend in evidence in this race concerning the age of the winner, as eight of the past 10 runners to come home in front have been aged eight or younger. We have three 10 year olds bidding to defy that trend this year in the shape of the aforementioned West Approach, along with Big River and Yala Enki.
We have had no outright winning favourites in this contest in the past decade, with the success of joint favourite West Approach last year being the only victory by a horse at the head of the betting. Those supporting the market leader over this period have been handed a £1 level stakes loss of £8.13.
|West Approach||3/1||11st 4lbs||Colin Tizzard||Harry Cobden|
|Discorama||9/2||11st 6lbs||Paul Nolan||Robbie Power|
|Big River||17/2||10st 13lbs||Lucinda Russell||Derek Fox|
West Approach – 3/1
The obvious place to start is with the defending champion, West Approach. As a 10 year old, he does have that age trend against him, but everything other than that would suggest he is likely to put up a bold defence of his crown.
Looking back at the race from 12 months ago, the son of Westerner could be called the most likely winner some way from home. Noted cantering in behind his rivals as they rounded the final bend, the manner in which he joined the leaders before quickening clear at the end of this marathon trip was a seriously impressive and suggested that he had plenty left in the tank.
He is six pounds higher in the ratings this time around, but 11st4lb is still a nice racing weight and it’s hard to argue that he wouldn’t still have won off a six pounds higher mark 12 months ago. Fit and well from a recent comeback second to the excellent Frodon, he looks primed to go close.
Discorama – 9/2
Another runner who would look to be in with a very solid chance on the form book is the Paul Nolan-trained, Robbie Power-ridden Discorama. As a seven year old, this one is a good fit on the trends – five of the past nine editions having fallen to a seven year old – but he has more than just age on his side.
Runners by Saddler Maker do tend to go well at this track, and this one is no exception having run three crackers in his only three previous visits to Prestbury Park. Second in the 2018 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle, he then went down by just half a length in the war of attrition that was the 2019 National Hunt Chase.
Tackling the Ultima Handicap Chase in his third festival appearance this year, he once again put his best foot forward to finish a running on third over that 3m1f trip. Perfectly at home with a bit of ease in the ground, and fit from an excellent second at the Galway Festival last time out, he seems highly likely to be involved at the business end here, granted a clear round.
Big River – 17/2
Despite the race seemingly favouring the younger performers, the old boys do look to boast strong claims this year, with the Lucinda Russell trained, Big River, another who brings strong form to the table.
Considering all three of this runner’s wins over fences have come at the sharp track of Kelso, Cheltenham would perhaps seem unlikely to suit this 10 year old. However, on the overall evidence he actually seems to thrive around here, with two of his career best performances coming in defeat at the 2019 and 2020 Cheltenham Festivals.
Beaten by six and a half lengths into fourth in the 2019 Ultima Handicap Chase when running off a mark of 140, he then bettered that effort in the same race back in March when going down by only three and a quarter lengths off a mark of 141. The most notable aspect of each of those displays was the fact that he was doing all his best work late, suggesting that the additional distance of this may suit him well. On the downside, he was pulled up in this in 2019, but something appeared to be amiss from an early stage that day, and getting in here off 143 he shouldn’t be too far away.
November Handicap Chase Winners
|2020||Ramses De Teillee||11/2||David Pipe||Tom Scudamore|
|2019||West Approach||11/4||Colin Tizzard||Robbie Power|
|2018||Rock The Kasbah||9/1||Philip Hobbs||Richard Johnson|
|2017||Perfect Candidate||7/1||Fergal O'Brien||Paddy Brennan|
|2016||Viconte Du Noyer||20/1||Colin Tizzard||Harry Cobden|
|2015||Sausalito Sunrise||7/1||Philip Hobbs||Richard Johnson|
|2014||Sam Winner||15/2||Paul Nicholls||Sam Twiston-Davies|
|2013||Alvarado||12/1||Fergal O'Brien||Paul Moloney|
|2012||Monbeg Dude||25/1||Michael Scudamore||Jamie Moore|
|2011||Galaxy Rock||9/1||Jonjo O'Neill||A P McCoy|
About the November Handicap Chase
Cheltenham Racecourse is home to some of the most valuable and prestigious races in the National Hunt season. Of course, most of them take place during the Cheltenham Festival but there are some excellent races held much earlier in the season during Cheltenham’s November Meeting.
The November Handicap Chase takes place on the Sunday of the November Meeting, having previously run and is one of its feature races. It may be a handicap but this Grade 3 regularly features horses who go on to compete at the top level, with recent years even seeing horses return to Cheltenham in March to compete in the Gold Cup.
Stayers to the Fore
At three miles, three and a half furlongs, the November Handicap Chase is a true race for hardy stayers. As with any long distance race though, it’s not simply about stamina. Horses who jump well and do so reliably will conserve vital energy over the 22 fences which must be navigated in the race. That energy is absolutely crucial for any steeplechase at Cheltenham as the run up to the winning post climbs the famously demanding hill.
The requirement for horses to jump well and to dig deep in the closing stages has thrown up an interesting mixture of winners over the history of the November Handicap Chase. On the one hand, you have out and out stayers who are battle hardened in the most demanding handicaps. These horses tend to follow their November trip to Cheltenham with runs in races such as the Grand National races run at Aintree, Chepstow and Ayr.
Many of the main contenders in the November Handicap Chase will compete almost exclusively in handicaps for the remainder of their careers. Others will impress sufficiently and/or get to the point where their rating makes it impossible for them to remain competitive in handicaps that connections try them out amongst Grade 1 or 2 company. So far, the race is yet to produce a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner but it has produced several runners. It was also won by Royal Athlete in 1993 who subsequently won the Grand National in 1995.
The November Handicap Chase Trends to Consider
It takes a certain amount of experience to win the November Handicap Chase. Horses without enough experience over fences and this sort of challenging handicap will find their challenge peter out. Therefore, it takes a very good performance from any horse to win this under the age of seven. Whilst winners aged over 10 are rare, older horses should not be immediately discounted.
This is often the big betting race of the November Meeting at Cheltenham. Picking a winner is no easy task with several outsiders and very few favourites winning but those who get it right received handsome returns from the bookies. The competitiveness of this race means that runners at big odds often claim a place so it’s a race for which each way betting is perfect.
It is always worth paying very close attention to the weights before having a bet on the November Handicap Chase. Punters need very good reasons to back any horse carrying 11 stone or more but, as we’ve seen, it is a contest that often involves some very high class types who can defy a penal rating.