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The November Meeting Betting Offers 2020 (Formerly Cheltenham Open)

cheltenham winning postCheltenham Racecourse is best known for the Cheltenham Festival, the culmination of the National Hunt season, but it is also integral to the start of the jump season when it hosts the November Meeting (formerly known as the Cheltenham Open) each year. This event, featuring the Gold Cup, goes back to 1960’s and having moved around a few times over the years it has settled at home of jump racing in Cheltenham.

Seen as the meeting that marks the beginning of jump racing proper in the UK the Open offers punters a good opportunity to get a first look at some of the seasons fancied hurdlers. The November Meeting is also a great time for bookies to test out their new national hunt horse racing promotions.

On this page you can find details of all the latest and best deals that could save you save you a few quid or even enhance your winnings. Further down you can find details on scheduling, race cards and more.

Cheltenham November Meeting Betting Offers

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November Meeting Schedule and Racecard 2020

cheltenham racecourse welcome sign

The November Meeting takes place over three days from Friday to Sunday, Saturday being the biggest day for spectators, prize money, offers and TV coverage. The meeting has a family festival like atmosphere with a big focus on fun, games and informality.

This strikes a contrast with the majority of the flat racing season which tends to be more about high class and tradition (posh basically). Jump racing is loved by all and the meeting starts the road for race lovers that culminates in the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National next year.

Countryside Day – Friday 13th November 2020

Time Race Grade Distance
12:40 Amateur Riders Handicap Chase Class 2 – Handicap 3m 1f 67y
1:15 Novices Handicap Hurdle Class 3 – Handicap 2m 87y
1:50 BetVictor Handicap Chase Class 2 1m 7f 199y
2:25 Steel Plate Novices Chase Class 2 2m 4f 44y
3:00 Cross Country Handicap Chase Class 2 – Handicap 3m 6f 37y
3:35 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Grade 2 2m 5f 26y

KEY: m – Miles, f – furlong(s), y – yards

There is no better day in racing to demonstrate how different top level National Hunt racing is from the typical flat race meetings that we get used to through the summer. The Countryside Day at Cheltenham has been going for over 20 years now and supports the Countryside Alliance and Injured Jockeys Fund.

The day is partly about the animals with various shows and features, most people bring their dogs along, it’s a true family day for locals and visitors alike. It is also about the racing however and there are some top races to get you going for the weekend. All races on this day are run on the old course.

cheltenham the home of jump racing

There is no waiting for the action as the day begins with two class 2 back to back handicap chases to get the card going.   The first is a race for amateur riders only on 4yo+ horses, it goes just over 3 miles and is the second longest race on the card. This is followed by a faster more conventional handicap for 4yo+ horses just over 2 miles long.

The third race of the day is a fast handicap chase for 3 year old novices held over just under 2m before a slightly longer handicap chase for older 4yo+ horses.

The fifth and longest race of Countryside Day is a cross country steeplechase over 3 miles and around 6 furlongs.  This is a big field stayers race that is a great one to watch.

The biggest race of day one comes up last for a change allowing a nice bit of build up. The Grade 2 Ballymore Novice’s Hurdle is actually a useful trial for the Novices Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival next March and gives spectators the chance to see some early potentials. The 10 huddle race is run over 2 miles and just over five furlongs for 4 year olds and over with a purse over £30k.

Gold Cup Day – Saturday 14th November 2020

Time Race Grade Distance
12:40 Triumph Trial Hurdle
Grade 2 2m 87y
1:15 Novices’ Steeple Chase Class 2 3m 80y
1:50 BetVictor Handicap Chase Grade 3 3m 3f 71y
2:25 BetVictor Gold Cup Grade 3
2m 4f 44y
3:00 Handicap Hurdle Listed 2m 7f 208y
3:30 Intermediate Handicap Hurdle Class 3 – Handicap 2m 5f 26y
4:00 Mares’ Open National Hunt Flat Race Listed 2m 87y

KEY: m – Miles, f – furlong(s), y – yards

Gold Cup day, also called November meeting Saturday, is this year sponsored by BetVictor, is, as the name would suggest, the premier day of the whole meeting. The grade 3 Gold Cup itself is the feature race of the day but it’s not up there on its own as there are a further two grade races and two listed races to look forward to in this seven race card.

There is no waiting again on day 2 as we are straight into the action with a Grade 2 novices Trail Hurdle for 3yo juveniles. The race is the biggest of the weekend for younger horses. This is followed up by two steeple chases. The first open to horses 5 years and older over 3 miles before the more prestigious grade 3 Handicap Chase over 3 ½ miles for 4yo+ horses. This race has been going since 1987 and carries a decent purse in excess of £50,000.

cheltenham racecourse horses running

The much anticipated handicap Grade 3 Gold Cup is up fourth. The two and half mile race on the Cheltenham old course dates back to 1960 and comes with a tasty prize fund of over £160,000, with over £90k to the winner. There are no less than 15 jumps to navigate and previous winners include Tony McCoy who holds the title of leading jockey winning the race on four occasions. Expect a field of around 20 in this 4yo+ feature.

Races five and six of the day are both handicaps. The first is the more prestigious listed race over 3, the November Handicap for 4-year-old or more horses, followed by an intermediate handicap for younger three-year-olds over 2 ½ miles.

The Saturday is capped off with a listed bumper, a national hunt flat race, run just over 2 miles for 4-6 year old mares.  As with the first day all races are run on the old course on Gold Cup Day.

The November Meeting Sunday – 15th November 2020

Time Race Grade Distance
12:45 Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle Class 3 – Handicap 2m 5f 26y
1:20 Arkle Trophy Trial Novices Chase Grade 2 1m 7f 199y
2:25 Schloer Cheltenham Chase Grade 2 1m 7f 199y
3:00 Unibet Greatwood Hurdle Grade 3
2m 87y
3:30 Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle Grade 2 2m 87y
4:00 Open National Hunt Flat Race Listed 2m 87y

KEY: m – Miles, f – furlong(s), y – yards

Gold Cup day may carry the prestigious feature race but don’t make the mistake of thinking the Sunday is just a support day. The November Meeting Sunday (formerly Open Sunday) hosts no less than four grade races out of a six race card, this is also the only day of the year on which Cheltenham hosts Sunday racing.

The first race of the day is also the longest race of the day, a 2 mile 5 furlong handicap hurdle with a big field.  This race is a nice way to ease into the day and a good race to pick up an each-way place, it is also a qualifier for The Challenger Staying Hurdle series final.

Day 3 gets going properly with the second race, the grade 2 Arkle Trophy Novices Hurdle, run over the Cheltenham old course with a distance just under 2 miles. The race is for 4yo+ horses who are required to jump 12 fences on the run. This race is a trail for the Arke Trophy at next years festival.

cheltenham racecourse horses running on the bend

The Schloer Cheltenham Chase is up next, run on the same course and distance as the previous race. This race was first run in 2009 and has become a highlight of the final day of the meeting commanding a prize fund in excess of £80,000.

Sunday’s feature race, the Greatwood Hurdle, is up fourth. This grade 3 handicap race of just over 2 miles is also open to 4yo+ nags and with a purse of over £100,000, it is the race to win. It has a decent field of up to 20 runners. The Greatwood hurdle acts as a trial race for the Champion Hurdle next year and is often used by keen bettors looking to spot a surprise for an ante-post bet.

The Supreme Trail Novices Chase is another grade 2 affair this race with 8 jumps is a trail race for the Supreme Novices Hurdle during the Cheltenham Festival. Open to 4 years olds and up this is a fancied race for punters looking for horses to back for the season.

The November Meeting draws to a close with a standard open national hunt flat race over 2m to get the heart pumping one last time.

November Meeting Feature Races

Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

This Grade 2 race is also known as the Hyde Novices’ Hurdle, which is a name that was given to it after achieved its current status in 2008. It was known by many titles prior to this and has been run under sponsored names since.

It was known as the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle between 2010 and 2016, for example, when it was being sponsored by Neptune Investment Management. Sponsorship switched to the Ballymore Group in 2017.

Run on the Old Course at Cheltenham over 2 miles and 5 furlongs, the race is for horses aged 4 and over and has the following weight information at play:

  • Weight: 11 stone
  • Fillies and mares receive a 7 pound allowance
  • Class 1 weight-for-age hurdle race winners are given a 5 pound penalty
  • Class 2 weight-for-age race winners and Class 1 handicap hurdle race winners are given a 3 pound penalty

There are 10 hurdles to be jumped during the course of the race, which is aimed at novice hurdles. As a result of this, obviously no horse has won it more than once. Norman Williamson, Paddy Brennan and Richard Johnson all have, whilst Tony McCoy is the race’s most successful jockey thanks to his four career wins. Philip Hobbs is the most successful trainer with three wins to date.

Triumph Trial Hurdle

Run under the title of the JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle because of a sponsorship deal with JCB, the race’s official title is the Prestbury Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle. As you might expect if you know anything about juvenile races, it’s limited to horses aged 3. Run over 2 miles and 87 yards on the Old Course, it features 8 hurdles during its running.Given Grade 2 status in 2004, the race has the following weight information for you to take into account:

  • Weight: 10 stone 12 pounds
  • Fillies and mares receive a 7 pound allowance
  • Class 1 weight-for-age hurdle race winners are given a 5 pound penalty
  • Class 2 weight-for-age race winners and Class 1 handicap hurdle race winners are given a 3 pound penalty

Tony McCoy once again finds his name on the list of jockeys that have done best in the race, but this time he’s not on his own. Both Ruby Walsh and Barry Geraghty have won the race as many times as him, whilst the likes of Mick Fitzgerald, Peter Scudamore and Richard Johnson have all enjoyed more than one win.

Martin Pipe once again takes the lead as the race’s best trainer, with Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson battling him for the title. Alan King and Philip Hobbs have also won the race more than once.

BetVictor Handicap Chase

A Grade 3 handicap offering for chasers, this race was known as the Flowers Original Handicap Chase for two years from 1987 to 1988. It has enjoyed a number of different sponsored titles over the years as the company has taken on sponsorship from the likes of Hoegaarden, Intervet and Morson Group, taking on a different name each time.

It was given the one-off title of the Henrietta Knight Handicap Chase in 2012 after the retirement of Henrietta Knight, a trainer who enjoyed a close relationship with Cheltenham on account of being the women behind the tripe Gold Cup success of Best Mate.

The race takes place over 3 miles, 3 furlongs and 71 furlongs. Though it’s a handicap offering, meaning that the handicappers decide the weight carried by each horse, there is a maximum weight of 11 stone and 12 pounds at play.

Stormez put his name in the race’s record books by winning it twice, firstly in 2002 and then again in 2004, becoming the first horse to do so. When it comes to the most successful trainer and jockey it’s those two names again: Martin Pipe and Tony McCoy.

BetVictor Gold Cup

Unquestionably the highlight of the meeting, as pretty much every race entitled ‘Gold Cup’ is at Cheltenham Racecourse. A Grade 3 offering that is open to horses aged 4 and over, it takes place on the Old Course and is run over 2 miles, 4 furlongs and 44 yards. It features 16 fences and it a handicap race, meaning that the weights carried by the horses are decided by the handicapper.

At the time of writing, 5 horses have won the race more than once, namely:

  • Fortria
  • Gay Trip
  • Half Free
  • Bradbury Star
  • Cyfor Malta

Things are a lot less tight when it comes to the top jockey and trainer, with Tony McCoy and Martin Pipe leading the way thanks to four and eight wins respectively. The likes of Timmy Murphy, Richard Linley and Richard Dunwoody all run McCoy close, though, with three wins apiece, whilst Fred Rimell, Jonjo O’Neill and Nigel Twiston-Davies have all enjoyed seeing horses they’ve trained with the race on numerous occasions.

The event was first run in 1960 when it was known as the Mackeson Gold Cup thanks to a sponsorship deal with Mackeson Stout. It has had number of different sponsors since 1995, which was the point at which Mackeson relinquished sponsorship duties, including companies such as Murphy’s and Thomas Pink. Since 2003 it has been sponsored by a number of different bookmakers.

Handicap Hurdle

Open to horses aged 4 and over, this race is run on the Old Course over 3 miles, 1 furlong and 67 yards. It’s a Class 1 Listed race and features 12 hurdles during the course of the race, so it’s not one for horses without any experience over jumps.

The race is a handicap, so the handicapper decides how much weight each horse will carry in order to try to make it as fair as possible. That means that it’s been prone to more than a few surprises in the past, though, so it’s an interesting one to have a wager on.

Mares’ Open National Hunt Flat Race

Known as the Karndean Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race thanks to a partnership with Karndean, the race is one of the youngest to take place during the November Meeting. It was run for the first time in 2013 and is, as the name suggests, limited to female horses. The fillies and mares run over 2 miles and 87 yards on the flat of the Old Course.

The weight for the race is 11 stone, with Class 1 race winners receiving a penalty of 4 pounds. Only open to horses between the ages of 4 and 6, Alan King is the only trainer to have won it more than once at the time of writing. Even that is thanks to a dead heat between My Khaleesi and Irish Roe in the 2016 outing.

Arkle Trophy Trial Novices’ Chase

Known as the Racing Post Arkle Trophy Trial Novices’ Chase, this is a Grade 2 offering that was previously run under the title of the Coventry Novices’ Chase and classed at the Listed level. It became the November Novices’ Chase when it was promoted to its current status in 1994. Unlike a lot of races, which often seem to have sponsorship deals with bookmakers, this race was sponsored by the Independent newspaper before the Racing Post took over in 2012.

This race is seen as a trial for the Arkle Trophy and has enjoyed a number of excellent winners in years gone by. Three time Gold Cup winner Best Mate won it in 2000, for example, whilst Azertyuiop won it in 2002 before going on to win both the Arkle and the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2003 and 2004 respectively.

Run over 1 mile, 7 furlongs and 199 yards, the race is open to novices aged 4 and up. It features 12 fences that the competitors need to get over and, as you’d imagine with a race for novices, has never been won by the same horse more than once. A number of jockeys have won the race four times, including Richard Dunwoody, Richard Johnson and Ruby Walsh.

When it comes to trainers, the likes of David Nicholson, Nicky Henderson and Nigel Twiston-Davies have all won the race several times, but none come anywhere close to the ten wins between 1995 and 2016. That included wins for horses such as Azertyuiop and Al Ferof, who both went on to greater things.

Schloer Cheltenham Chase

The Cheltenham Chase, known currently as the Schloer Cheltenham Chase because of a sponsorship deal with the soft drink makers Schloer, has only been taking place since 2009. It’s a Grade 2 offering and is open to horses aged 5 and over. Run over 1 mile, 7 furlongs and 199 yards, it offers riders 12 jumps to negotiate during the race.

It was the Connaught Chase when it was first run in 2009, becoming the Sinbad Testimonial 2010/2011 Chase before taking on its current moniker. It was made into a Listed race in 2013 before being promoted to Grade 2 two years later.

Unlike many of the races written about here, it is not limited in terms of horses entering it after winning it and both Gauvain and Fox Norton are examples of horses winning it more than once. Perhaps the best-known winner of the race to date is Sprinter Sacre, who won it in 2015 having won the likes of the Arkle Challenge Trophy, the Tingle Creek Chase and the Queen Mother Champion Chase in the years before.

Interestingly both Fox Norton and Gauvain had different jockeys on their backs for the two wins, meaning that Daryl Jacob, who rode on Gauvain in 2010 and then won again on Sceau Royal in 2018, is the only jockey to have won the race more than once. Alan King, Colin Tizzard, Nick Williams and Nicky Henderson have all won it more than once as trainers.

Unibet Greatwood Hurdle

Run over 2 miles and 87 yards, this race features eight hurdles and is open for horses aged 4 and over. It was classed as a Listed race for some time, eventually being upgraded to Grade 3 in 2004. For a time it was sponsored by Greatwood, a charity that looks after retired racehorses. It took on the title of the Racing Post Hurdle when it was sponsored by the industry paper between 2012 and 2013.

The race is a handicap offering and takes place on the Old Course at Cheltenham. Previous winners include the likes of Rooster Booster, who won it in 2002 before going on to win the Champion Hurdle the following year, Sizing Europe, who won a whole host of Chases including the Queen Mother Champion Chase four years after winning this, and Detroit City, who won it in 2006 along with the Triumph Hurdle and a number of other races.

Peter Scudamore, Paddy Brennan and a few other well-known names have won the race more than once, though Jamie Osborne and Richard Johnson are the most successful jockeys to win it at the time of writing. Similarly Paul Nicholls and Oliver Sherwood are amongst the names that have won it several times as trainers, but it’s that man Martin Pipe that sits at the top of the pile alongside Philip Hobbs.

Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle

As the name suggests, this race serves as a trial for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle which takes place at Cheltenham Racecourse every March during the Festival. Run over 2 miles and 87 yards, it’s similar to the Unibet Greatwood Hurdle in that there are 8 hurdles to jump and it’s open to horses aged 4 and up. The biggest difference is that that race is a handicap, whereas this one has the following weight information:

  • Weight: 11 stone
  • Fillies and mares receive a 7 pound allowance
  • Class 1 weight-for-age hurdle race winners get a 5 pound penalty
  • Class 2 weight-for-age winners and Class 1 handicap hurdle race winners get a 3 pound penalty

Run left-handed on the Old Course, it used to be run over 2 mies and took place in December. It had a furlong added to its distance in 1992 then cut to its current length in 1994, which was also when it was moved to the November Meeting. For a time it was known as the Opus Energy Novices’ Hurdle because of a sponsorship deal with Opus Energy, but in 2013 Sky Bet took over sponsorship duties.

Being a race for novice hurdlers, no horse has won it more than once. Here are some of the most successful horses to have won it in the past, though, along with a selection of their future victories:

  • Cue Card: won it in 2010 before going on to win the Ryanair Chase three years later, the King George VI Chase in 2015 and the Betfred Bowl the year after that
  • Dodging Bullets: Victorious in this race in 2012, he was bred by Frankie Dettori and caught the eye when he won the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2015
  • Altior: One of the most impressive horses in recent times, Altior claimed this race in 2015 and then The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle that this is a trial for the following year. Also won the Queen Mother Champion Chase in 2018 and 2019 as well as the Desert Orchid Chase in 2018

A whole host of jockeys have stood on the winners’ podium for this race more than once, including Jamie Osborne, Richard Dunwoody and Ruby Walsh. None have managed to make it there for a third time at the time of writing. Similarly Philip Hobbs, Nicky Henderson and Josh Gifford are examples of trainers who have won it twice, though Paul Nicholls, Colin Tizzard and Martin Pipe have done so on three occasions apiece.

Open National Hunt Flat Race

The last race worth telling you about is the Open National Hunt Flat Race, also known as the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire and Racing Remember Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race is a bumper race for horses aged between 4 and 6.
Run on the flat over 2 miles and 87 yards, it’s a Class 1 Listed offering.

About the Cheltenham Open / November Meeting

cheltenham racecourse fences

The Cheltenham Open, now called the November meeting, is a long anticipated first major jumps meeting following a long summer of flat racing.  Although the jump season is already well underway by this point the Open has become the unofficial start of the jump season proper for many race rans.

The event draws in crowds of over 70,000 people over the three days making it one of the biggest race meeting of the winter season. The meeting is a big event for fans of racing who dislike the pomp and ceremony that comes with the flat season.

Racing at Cheltenham goes back to the early 1800’s when it opened as a flat racing course. By the end of the century steeplechasing was established at Cheltenham begging a love affair that has resulted in Cheltenham now being seen as the home of jump racing in Britain.

cheltenham racecouse stands

The Gold Cup was established in 1960 and has always been run at Cheltenham. The rest of the races were assembled around the Gold Cup over the years to create the modern three-day meeting that marks the opening of the high class National Hunt racing season.

The event was initially named the Cheltenham Open in 2003 but in 2017 was renamed the November Meeting. It is said this name change was done to prevent a name clash with the golf Open, however why this became an issue after so many years is unknown.  In all likelihood the re-branding was simply a PR stunt to drum up more coverage.

Over three days the mini-festival now pays out in the region of £800,000 in prize money . The event has more about it than just racing too. Over the three days there are fetes, stalls, crafts, animal shows, live music and acts and village sports to play. The Cheltenham shopping village is a particular draw for those on all budgets.  All kids under 18 are allowed in free to all days of the three-day meeting too.

In 2019 the Countryside Day was cancelled at the last minute due to water-logging with two Friday races moved to the Saturday and Sunday, this was the first race meeting to be cancelled at Cheltenham for weather since New Year’s Day 2013.

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