The Cheltenham November Meeting is the first major meeting of the jump racing season and will take place between Friday 15th and Sunday 17th November at the famous Cheltenham Racecourse. It’s where the magic begins, as horses gear up to the pinnacle of the jump season and the Cheltenham Festival the following March.
Over three thrilling days of action, racegoers will be treated to 19 races, beginning with Countryside Day. Much like Cheltenham’s better-known festival, the second day – Gold Cup day – is the pinnacle of the meeting. The final day, Sunday is the only Sunday in the calendar that Cheltenham Racecourse opens its doors to racing, so it shouldn’t be missed.
If you’re interested in the latest racing odds, here’s all you need to know ahead of the meeting.
Day 1: Countryside Day
There are six races to watch out for on the opening day, ranging between Classes 2 and 3. The weekend gets underway with the Amateur Riders Handicap Chase, a Class 2 race, run over three miles. The race is open to horses aged four years and upwards, ridden by amateur jockeys.
The Handicap Chase is the highlight of opening day and where the most prize money is won. The chase is the third race of the day and the third handicap race of the meeting. Again, it’s open to four-year-old horses and older.
Countryside Day concludes with the Novices’ Hurdle and is the only graded race of the day. If you’re looking to take a punt on a horse at the Cheltenham Festival later on in the season, it’s a great race to watch, as many of the horses will participate in both races. The Novices’ Hurdle features 10 hurdles and is run over two miles, five furlongs and 26 yards. The field is typically quite small, between five and 10 horses.
Day 2: Gold Cup Day
Cheltenham has had a long-time association with the Gold Cup, so understandably, all eyes are on this particular day of the November Meeting. It’s the first big race of the season and there’s plenty of anticipation surrounding the fourth race (of seven) on day 2.
The November Meeting Gold Cup has been in existence since 1960 and the Grade 3 race is run over two miles, four furlongs and 44 yards. Last year’s winner was Baron Alco, ridden by Jamie Moore. This year’s favourite is Siruh Du Lac, a French-bred six-year-old horse that has won his last four races.
Away from the pinnacle of the festival, there’s a second Handicap Chase, this time with a larger purse up for grabs, enticing more horses to enter the field. The Novices’ Hurdle is the penultimate race of the day and for younger horses of three-years-old or higher, it’s one to watch to keep an eye on the field of the future. With up to 20 horses in this race, it’s incredibly open but still competitive. Day 2 closes with the Mares’ Open National Hunt Flat Race – a Listed race, run over two miles and 87 yards.
Day 3: November Meeting Sunday
The final day of the meeting consists of six races but there are as many prestigious races in day 3 as the other two days of racing combined, so you certainly won’t get bored – even if the day is known as ‘Lazy Sunday’.
Day 3 kicks off with the longest race, the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle. Run over two miles, five furlongs and 26 yards, it’s an important one as it acts as a qualifier for the Challenger Stayers Hurdle Series Final later on in the season. Last year’s race was won by Palmers Hill, who hasn’t featured since then.
The feature race of the day is the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle, a Grade 3 race open to nags aged four-years and up. It’s another race that punters like to watch to gauge the field in readiness for the Champions Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival and the field is usually pretty big.
The meeting comes to a close with a National Hunt flat race, which is run over the same distance as the previous two races (two miles and 87 yards) but the major difference is that it’s a flat race and so there are no jumps.
Whether you’re going to the Cheltenham November Meeting and didn’t know what to expect, or were wanting some information ahead of placing a bet, hopefully, this guide has improved your understanding.