The Ladbrokes Winter Carnival 2022 promises to be another fantastic meeting. Newbury hosts this brilliant National Hunt event across two magnificent days and we take you through what to expect, what the biggest races are, how to bet on the race, its links to the Cheltenham Festival and more. We also answer your top questions about the event as the latest Winter Carnival draws ever nearer.
As usual, the Winter Carnival is spread across two days. Day one is Long Distance Hurdle Day, otherwise known as Gentleman’s Day. Newbury are applauded for hosting a Gentleman’s Day given the number of Ladies’ Days around the country, and they could hardly pick a better day for it.
Day two is Coral Gold Cup Day and this is the main event. The day is known as a major social event with festive menus produced including mulled wine and cocktails in Newbury’s Winter Garden. This is an early chance for a Christmas day out for racegoers. As for Ladbrokes Winter Carnival dates; in 2022, day one takes place on Friday, November 25th. Races start at 12.10 and go right through to 3.35pm, the feature race being the £60,000 Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle at 3pm.
Day two is scheduled for Saturday, November 26th. With the layout similar, racing begins at 12.10 with the final race being at 3.35. The feature race and penultimate event of the day, the Coral Gold Cup, is set for 3pm. The £250,000 highlight promises to attract its usual top-class field.
All races at this meeting can prove to be crucial in the grand scheme of the National Hunt season. With an eye on the year to come, particularly the Cheltenham Festival, these are the best races at the Winter Carnival:
The Berkshire, often run under a sponsor’s name, is a two-mile, four-furlong novices’ chase featuring 16 fences. It is open to those aged four and over.
Run since 1987 when it was known as the Hopeful, horses of the calibre of Denman, Bobs Worth, Coneygree and Champ have won the event, meaning it’s an important one to watch with a future eye on the Golden Miller and the Spa at Cheltenham, as well as ultimately the Gold Cup itself.
Along with the Long Walk Hurdle and the Christmas Hurdle, the Long Distance Hurdle is a fine three-mile race which also serves as a very key race leading up to the Stayers’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. Twelve flights are to be jumped during a race which tends to be won by a crack three-miler.
All-time greats such as Big Buck’s (four times), Inglis Drever (three times) and Baracouda (twice) have taken this race. Even those placed in the last few years such as Thistlecrack, Paisley Park, Thyme Hill and Thomas Darby were hardened horses which is what is required in this top hurdle race.
A novices’ hurdles for mares aged four and over only, this race is run over the extended two-mile trip. As a Listed event it is good quality anyway, but it can also prove to be a crucial trial for the Dawn Run at the Cheltenham Festival, run over the same two and a half miles.
Staged over almost three miles, this novice event is for the future stayers and the possible Gold Cup contenders. There are 18 fences to take during the race, so it can be quite a slog if the rain comes.
The race has produced some fine future staying chasers, Native River, Thistlecrack, Elegant Escape and Ahoy Senor all having taken the event since 2015. This is a race which is being used increasingly by trainers with an eye on the Festival and beyond.
A limited handicap, this hurdle race is high quality. The event is staged over a trip of just a shade over two miles and can be very competitive in terms of the betting. There are just eight hurdles to take, with speed being the main factor if the ground stays good.
This ever-popular chase race is a Grade 3 handicap, run over 3¼ miles with the ultra-competitive field taking on 21 fences for a share of £250,000. Recently known as the Ladbrokes Trophy and made famous as the Hennessy Gold Cup, this event has been won by no fewer than nine future Gold Cup winners and one subsequent Grand National winner.
Should a horse from the top end of the handicap win this race, their price for the Cheltenham Gold Cup will surely contract. If the race becomes particularly gruelling, then any winner of this will be fancied for the Grand National.
Ladbrokes Winter Carnival tips will be more accurate nearer the time as currently, ante-post odds are available only for the Coral Gold Cup. In that race there are dozens of horses listed as possible entries, as you’d expect with such a valuable event. The trick in terms of ante-post betting in a race of this nature is to find horses you believe will be well handicapped when the race comes around. The two we like with that in mind are the Paul Nicholls-trained pair of Threeunderthrufive and Bravemansgame.
The former, a seven-year-old gelding, finished last season rated 151 but that probably does not accurately reflect his true ability. More will be expected this season over this sort of trip given that he’s already a two-time novice chase winner at Grade 2 level over three miles.
Bravemansgame has long been touted as a future top-class staying chaser and that may still come true for the Nicholls team. Also a seven-year-old, this horse is just five races into his chasing career and obviously has his best days still ahead of him which is crucial for handicapping a race of this nature. He finished last season well beaten at Aintree, but before that he was unbeaten in four outings over fences including crucially here at Newbury over almost three miles. Conditions should be fine for him with that in mind and he’s expected to reach an official mark of 170+ this season.
While for the purists this meeting is simply about watching top-class National Hunt racing, what will always be true is that Ladbrokes Winter Carnival betting is white hot and forms part of the weekend.
Before placing your bets at Newbury, remember the following:
Getting good value is crucial here. Why would you take 6/1 with one bookmaker when the same horse is available at 8/1 elsewhere? Always shop around and get the best bookie(s) for you.
These days there are tons of betting markets you can flick through to find the best Newbury Winter Carnival bet for you. The most common betting markets, especially in major races such as the Coral Gold Cup, are:
Coverage of races at the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival is available widely. We recommend you keep an eye on this meeting as, not only is it fantastic in terms of quality, but it provides plenty of clues for the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Terrestrial coverage is provided by ITV Racing as usual. They have live coverage of both days, preceded in the morning by the Opening Show which offers good insight into the racing action to come.
Non-terrestrial coverage is provided by specialist racing channel, Racing TV. With fewer non-racing features, this is the place to go for pure racing coverage across both days.
Good online bookmakers, including the sponsors Ladbrokes/Coral, will offer live streaming of each race at Newbury. A small bet may be needed on a race in order to watch live with pictures and commentary the same as that on Racing TV.
We’re hoping for a bumper list of Ladbrokes Winter Carnival offers from the bookmakers. Keep a sharp eye on your chosen bookie, with the most popular horse racing betting offers being:
For major handicaps such as the Coral Gold Cup some brands will offer extra places anyway, such as going 5 or 6 places each-way rather than three or four. You can sometimes choose to take shorter prices about your horse however, increasing the place numbers yourself. See all extra places >>
Keep an eye out for ‘enhanced odds’ or ‘bet boost’ offers. These are straightforward deals offering you a bigger price than normal on a certain horse.
Money Back Deals
Some bookmakers offer you money back, often as a free bet, if your horse falls or your horse is beaten into second place or by a certain runner such as the favourite. See all money back offers >>
Best Odds Guaranteed
Known as ‘BOG’, this involves online bookmakers offering you the best price available. That means, should you take a price when you back a horse but then the SP is bigger, you are paid at the bigger odds. Likewise, if you back a horse and the SP is shorter, you get paid at your original price. See all bookies offering best odds guaranteed >>
Although races at the Winter Carnival are important in their own right, naturally they are also seen as key trials for the Cheltenham Festival in March. At the 2021 meeting alone, several Carnival runners went on to do very well at the 2022 Festival. Tea Clipper, second in the Berkshire Novices’ on day one, went on to finish fourth in the Ultima while Jonbon, who won his maiden at this meeting, ran a fine second to Constitution Hill in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Mister Coffey was a beaten favourite in the Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase but was very well backed at the Festival in the Kim Muir, finishing a close second.
Old favourite Paisley Park meanwhile was third here in the Long Distance Hurdle before going on to win the Cleeve on Trials Day and then finishing third in the Stayers’ Hurdle in March. Ahorsewithnoname was a sold second in the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle on day two and she went on to be a fine 50/1 runner-up in the Dawn Run at Cheltenham. Finally, Ahoy Senor, a 31-length winner of the John Francombe, went on to win at Wetherby before being a good second in the Brown Advisory at Cheltenham. He even won at Aintree afterwards for good measure.
The top questions answered about the Ladbrokes Winter Carnival.
The Carnival, also known the Gold Cup Meeting, takes place on Friday November 25 and Saturday November 26, 2022.
Newbury Racecourse. This meeting represents the highlight of the National Hunt season at Newbury.
The Coral Gold Cup, formerly the Ladbrokes Trophy, is the feature event. Is it a 3m2f handicap chase worth £250,000.
Yes. Live TV coverage is provided by both ITV Racing and Racing TV, while many good online bookmakers will stream the action live.
For the past 20 years Gary has been immersed in the world of sports writing and betting. His experience, particularly within horse racing, has led to him enjoying a successful career as a punter but also as an SEO specialist. Gary contributes written content for TVG (America’s largest wagering website and horse racing TV network), Mr Green Casino, CasinoEuro and many others. Having written for horse racing magazines, newspapers, and websites as well as having published one book on football betting, Gary has used his knowledge of sports to provide valuable betting tips to punters via apps, telephone and the web.