Cheltenham November Meeting

The Cheltenham November meeting, formerly known as The Open meeting, is one of the first major meetings of the new jumps season.

It takes place over three days at Cheltenham racecourse and features two big handicaps, the BetVictor Gold Cup and the Greatwood Hurdle.

There are also some early-season trials for the big festival meeting including the Grade 2 Shloer Chase, the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase and the Arkle Trophy Trial.

Cheltenham November Meeting

Cheltenham November Meeting History & Famous winners

The feature race of the week is the BetVictor Gold Cup on the Saturday, a very competitive handicap chase over two and a half miles. This was originally run as the Mackeson Gold Cup from 1960 to 1995. There have been five dual winners including Gay Trip (1969, 1971) and Bradbury Star (1993, 1994). Other notable winners of the BetVictor Gold Cup include Pegwell Bay (1988), Dublin Flyer (1995), Senor El Betrutti (1997) and Al Ferof (2012).

The Greatwood Hurdle is the other big betting race of the meeting, a two-mile handicap run on the closing Sunday.

Horses on the roll of honour for the Greatwood include Champion Hurdle winners Celtic Shot (1987) and Rooster Booster (2002).

Cheltenham November Meeting

The November is over two days, as below:

November Meeting Day 1 – Countryside Day

The meeting opens with Countryside Day on Friday when the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase series gets underway. This is a long-distance chase over a variety of fences and this is the first of three such races held each season at Cheltenham.

The Cross Country Chase has taken on greater significance thanks to the exploits of dual Grand National winner Tiger Roll. He won over the cross country course at the Cheltenham Festival prior to winning the National in 2018 and 2019. He was trained for an unprecedented Aintree hat-trick last season but the race was eventually cancelled due to the Covid Pandemic.

The Grade 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle over 2 miles and 5 furlongs has been won by some high-class horses in the past. Black Jack Ketchum (2005) and Fingal Bay (2011) were both prolific novice hurdlers while 2012 winner Coneygree won the Cheltenham Gold Cup three years’ later. Friday’s supporting card also includes the Steel Plate and Sections Novices’ Chase and the BetVictor Handicap Chase.

November Meeting Day 2 – BetVictor Gold Cup Day

The highlight of Saturday’s card is The BetVictor Gold Cup and there is a very strong supporting card.

The three and a half-mile BetVictor Smartcards Handicap Chase is a useful trial for the big staying chases later in the season. Recent winners include Monbeg Dude (2012) and Alvarado (2013), both placed in the Aintree Grand National.

The three-mile novices’ chase on this card was won by Thistlecrack in 2016 who went on the win the King George VI Chase at Kempton. Winners of The Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle at this meeting include Defi Du Seuil who went on to win the Triumph in 2016.

BetVictor Gold Cup Betting Trends

Punters have endured a torrid time in the BetVictor Gold Cup in recent years. The last ten favourites have all been beaten since Tranquil Sea won the race for Ireland in 2009. The average SP of the winner over the last ten years has been 12-1. The longest priced-winner was Splash Of Ginge who returned at 25-1 in 2017. Other long-priced winners include Little Josh at 20-1 in 2010 and Happy Diva at 14-1 in 2019.

Horses aged six to eight have been the most successful age group. Clear Cut won at the age of 11 back in 1975 while Cyfor Malta (2002) and Caid Du Berlais (2014) won here at the age of five. Previous Cheltenham form is a positive factor with the last twelve winners all having raced at least twice at Cheltenham.

This race provides plenty of form clues to the outcome of the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup at the December meeting. Frodon finished runner-up here to Baron Alco in 2018 before reversing the form the following month.

BetVictor Gold Cup Top Trainers & Jockeys

Trainer Martin Pipe dominated this race with a record eight victories, seven of them coming between 1996 and 2005. Two of them were with Cyfor Malta (1998 and 2002), the most recent dual winner.

Nigel Twiston-Davies has trained the winner on four occasions; Tipping Tim (1992), Imperial Commander (2008), Little Josh (2010) and Splash Of Ginge (2017). Imperial Commander went on to win the 2010 Cheltenham Gold Cup where he defeated Kauto Star and Denman.

Jonjo O’Neill has been successful three times here with Exotic Dancer (2006), Johns Spirit (2013) and Taquin Du Seuil (2016). Nicky Henderson’s only winner in this race came with Fondmort in 2003 who went on to win the Ryanair Chase three years’ later.

Tony McCoy is the leading jockey in the history of the race with four winners.

Day 3 – Greatwood Hurdle Day

The Greatwood Hurdle is the big betting race on the final day of the meeting. Trainer Philip Hobbs has won this valuable handicap four times, most recently with Garde Le Victoire in 2014. Paul Nicholls has won the Greatwood on three occasions while Alan King has enjoyed recent success with Elgin (2017) and Harambe (2019). Rather like the BetVictor Gold Cup, this race has proved particularly taxing for punters with no successful favourite in the past ten seasons.

The Grade 2 Shloer Chase often sees possible contenders for the Queen Mother Champion Chase make their seasonal reappearance. Nicky Henderson’s Sprinter Sacre won here in 2015 while last year’s renewal was won by Defi Du Seuil from Politologue. The runner-up reversed the form to win the Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

The Grade 2 Arkle Trophy Trial Novices’ Chase also provided festival clues in 2019. Put The Kettle On won at this meeting before taking the Arkle at odds of 14-1. The race was also won by the classy Paul Nicholls-trained pair Al Ferof (2011) and Dodging Bullets (2013). The Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle on the same card has been won in the past by Cue Card (2010) and Altior (2015).

Betting on Cheltenham November Meeting 2021

Ante-post betting markets open on the two big handicaps as soon as the weights are announced. Most of the runners will be having their first run of the season and the recent record of favourites here suggests a cautious approach is required.

Several of the races could provide clues to the Cheltenham Festival in March. It is a meeting to watch with an eye to the future.

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Summary of the November Open Meeting

National Hunt fans can hardly wait for this meeting as it brings the first top-class racing to Cheltenham for the new season.

All roads lead to the Cheltenham Festival in March and this meeting is packed with significant early trials over fences and hurdles.

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