Other than the Cheltenham Festival itself, there arguably isn’t a more important horse racing event held at Cheltenham Racecourse than the November Meeting date. In 2020, fans sadly weren’t be able be at Prestbury Park to watch the action live in person and had to be content with seeing the horses run on TV at home. The big November Meeting betting races are handicaps but some key trials for the Festival also take place over three days in the middle of the month too. While the Friday can be quite low key, the two weekend days of the Cheltenham November Meeting see some top jumps racehorses taking part.
Besides the November Gold Cup, a Grade 3 handicap chase over two-and-a-half miles on the Saturday, the other feature is the Greatwood Hurdle on the Sunday. Below you will find other key Cheltenham November Meeting races discussed with event information and a discussion of the leading contenders. There are also Cheltenham November Meeting offers, further details on why these races are so important, some key history and last year’s winners. That makes for comprehensive coverage of this horse racing. We have got the November Meeting betting covered!
There are a number of important Cheltenham races in November which act as trials for the Festival. While the horses who win at the meeting may not go on to repeat what they have done at the course during the autumn in the spring, form at the track should always be respected. The 2020 Cheltenham November Meeting date starts on Friday, 13 November and goes through to Sunday, 15 November. While we have looked at the Paddy Power Gold Cup and Greatwood Hurdle in more depth individually on the site, here are the other key races:
One of the few other races to take place on the Cross Country course at Cheltenham, this handicap gives horses an opportunity to tackle the various obstacles before the Festival. It thus acts as a trial for the Cross Country Chase with the key difference being that is a conditions contest. This November Meeting race is run as a handicap. Last year’s Festival one-two Easysland and Tiger Roll do battle again. The French raider gets 4lb from the dual Grand National hero here, so is a hot favourite. All other horses apart from entered are running from out of the handicap. That puts them up against it, but Welsh Grand National winner Potters Corner tries Cross Country for the first time and is an interesting runner against the big two in the betting.
As one of the key trials for the Ballymore or Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle races at the Cheltenham Festival, the winners of this race definitely need to go into punters’ notebooks for future reference. Registered as the Hyde Novices’ Hurdle so as to distinguish it from the actual Grade 1 in March, course and distance winner Does He Know from Kim Bailey’s stable is favourite. He has to concede a penalty for that success, but bookmakers are confident of him doing that. The main opposition comes from Nicky Henderson inmate Grand Mogul, who won at Chepstow, while bottom weight Wild Romance represents the Dan Skelton yard and both have good claims.
One of three official trials for the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham, this race registered as the Prestbury Juvenile Hurdle has been won some great horses including Katchit and Defi Du Seuil down the years. Irish trainer Gordon Elliott has to decide whether to send Listed Wetherby winner Duffle Coat over to the UK again under a penalty for this race. Another prominent contender is Chepstow scorer Hell Red for Paul Nicholls after his impressive stable debut victory. David Pipe, meanwhile, could quickly turn out recent Warwick victor Adagio here and he is another one with more to offer.
Best known as the Arkle Trial and registered as the November Novices’ Chase, this race acts as a trial for the Arkle Challenge Trophy at the Festival. Last year’s winner, Put The Kettle On, became a rare winner of both races at Cheltenham. The race does suffer from a lower-class novice chase over the same distance also taking place at the meeting the day before. Fusil Raffles is fancied to follow-up on his course victory at The Showcase in October for Henderson and powerful owners Simon Munir and Isaac Souede. Fellow five-year-old Quel Destin from Nicholls’ yard makes his chase debut here, while Gumball ran well at this meeting 12 months ago for Philip Hobbs when runner-up in the Greatwood Hurdle and has experience of fences under his belt.
The Shloer Chase celebrated 10 years since its inauguration in 2019 and the purpose of adding this race to the programme was to provide a starting point for Champion Chase hopefuls at Cheltenham. There are a number of other key trials for that big Festival race, but none over the same course and distance until this was introduced. Last year’s Shloer Chase winner Defi Du Seuil is back to defend his crown for Hobbs, and the Arkle heroine Put The Kettle On comes over from Ireland representing the Henry De Bromhead stable. Three other course and distance winners are also engaged in Duc Des Genievres (now with Nicholls), Rouge Vif (who won a handicap off top-weight here in October) and Sceau Royal (after making hay with two recent victories over hurdles).
This is the only official trial for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle run at Cheltenham and it’s registered as the Sharp, again so you can differentiate between the Festival race and others carrying the name at other tracks. Dodging Bullets, Cue Card and Altior appear on the roll of honour for this race, so the horses entered this year have a lot to live up to. Champion Bumper fourth Third Time Lucki heads the betting for the Skeltons in 2020 after two bloodless wins over obstacles. Persian War runner-up Courtandbould (Fergal O’Brien) dropping back down in trip joins Kempton Listed second Fidelio Vallis (Nicholls) as experienced dangers to the favourite here.
Across the three-day meeting last year 5 of the 19 races were won by favourites or joint-favourites. That’s a little below the average, showing how competitive the meeting is, although the average SP was 7/1 meaning that generally speaking most winners were among the top-rank in betting terms, so stick with class and known form.
14 of the 19 races were won by horses with an SP of between 9/4 and 9/1, so removing any short-priced favourites on the grounds of value and scratching those at very big prices could pay dividends over three days.
There is a very fair spread when it comes to successful trainers and jockeys, though you’ll notice doubles for Fergal O’Brien, Paul Nicholls, Ian Williams and Colin Tizzard on various days pointing us to the fact that you should stick with trainers in form.
The November Meeting Cheltenham winners will always go on to be well fancied at the Festival but as our results show, you should remain a little wary when it comes to the big one as this meeting is just one of many that can lead to Cheltenham Festival success.
As with any horse racing where there is larger betting interest than usual, you can expect to find Cheltenham November Meeting offers aplenty across the three days of equine action from Prestbury Park. From extra place promotions on races which attract large fields, including the Saturday and Sunday features – the Paddy Power Gold Cup and Greatwood Hurdle respectively – to enhanced odds, the bookies give you every incentive to get your bets on. All your wagers should be best odds guaranteed if you place them on the day of the race, and non-runner no bet terms should apply as soon final declarations are out. In 2020, every one of the November Meeting races declares at the 48-hour stage. Check out the top sign up bonuses and betting promotions below. This handy table includes all the best Cheltenham November Meeting offers:
You may be wondering what is so special about November Meeting races compared to others staged at Cheltenham in the run-up to the Festival? After all, the official Trials Day isn’t until the end of January. That event is only six weeks or so away from the Cheltenham Festival itself and, for some trainers who want their horses in peak condition, it is just a little bit too close in order for them to run their best. There is absolutely no substitute for getting course experience into runners and that is precisely why so many trials held at the track over the November Meeting date and other days exist. Cheltenham Racecourse is a real test for horses, and not all of them take to its undulations. Running here earlier in the season can be a fact-finding mission for racehorse trainers.
The November Meeting races are four months out from Cheltenham, so that is plenty of time in advance. How horses perform in the trials can also help to identify future targets for them. For instance, if a horse stays on well in the Ballymore Trials and runs into a place, it may be that they want to go up in trip and run in the Albert Bartlett come the Festival. A strong performance in the Greatwood Hurdle, meanwhile, might suggest that the horse is better than graded handicap company and worth training for the Champion Hurdle.
Bookmakers are also paying very close attention to what happens at Cheltenham, so the November Meeting betting actually influences the ante post markets for the Festival more than you might realise. It may be some months before the big National Hunt extravaganza, but that doesn’t stop odds being changed based on how horses perform at the course. The Cheltenham November Meeting really informs the future for both bookies and bettors alike. Betfred Cheltenham offers along with the ones from other brands usually appear shortly after the November Meeting.
The Cheltenham November Meeting 2020 is just the latest instalment of three days of horse racing that has plenty of history attached to it. A number of different partners have sponsored the meeting which has also been called The Open. Tailors and outfitters Thomas Pink and stout brand Mackeson are among those who have leant their names to the meeting down the years. In more recent times, bookmakers have been involved with sponsoring a number of races at this meeting, including Paddy Power, BetVictor, SkyBet and Unibet.
Many famous racehorses over jumps have won November Meeting races en route to bigger and better things. Coneygree took the Hyde Novices’ Hurdle before landing the Cheltenham Gold Cup 16 months later. The 1970 Grand National hero Gay Trip scooped the Mackeson Gold Cup as the big Grade 3 handicap chase was known back then in both 1969 and 1971, using it as a stepping stone to glory in the Aintree showpiece. Triple Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Best Mate took the Arkle Trial back in 2000, while the Greatwood Hurdle roll of honour includes Rooster Booster (2002) and Sizing Europe (2007).
That is only scratching the surface. Some of the best National Hunt horses in training come to the Cheltenham November Meeting every year. The long-term aim may be to help prepare them for Festival success, but some of the races over the three days are valuable and well worth winning in their own right. While the November Gold Cup may have had a number of name changes based on new sponsors over the years, one constant has always been attractive prize money. The same goes for the Greatwood Hurdle with these two handicaps acting as the big betting races here.