- When: 15th, 16th & 17th November 2024
- Where: Cheltenham Racecourse
- Watch: ITV
- Official Website: Cheltenham November Meeting
The Cheltenham November Meeting, previously know as the Open Meeting, is often seen as one of the bigger events in the jump season. Many people say that it signifies the start of the season with some high quality racing being held over the three-day event.
Unlike most major meetings, Cheltenham’s November Meeting runs Friday through to Sunday, making it more appealing to families, something which organisers were keen to implement.
In terms of betting offers, we’ll have all the best promotions shown below when they become available.
Existing Customer Free Bets & Money Back Offers
Note: Offers will appear here nearer the event as and when they become available.
November Meeting / Cheltenham Open Betting Tips
Please note: The following tips are for 2023 and will be updated shortly before the event starts.
Having kicked off in traditional style with the Showcase Meeting of October, Cheltenham Racecourse keeps the National Hunt ball rolling with the much-anticipated November Meeting. Held in a punter-friendly Friday to Sunday slot, the meeting may not boast anything like the hype or prestige of the March showpiece but is, nevertheless, one of the first fixtures pencilled into the diaries of fans of the jumping game.
Those tuning in to the Prestbury Park action can expect a quality menu of competitive handicaps, high-class novice contests, and a smattering of Graded events, which may provide early pointers ahead of the major Grade 1 races yet to come. Here, we look at the big highlights across what promises to be a cracking three days of action.
Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase
Friday 17th November, 2:55pm
Handicapping and novice action dominate the opening Friday. Of the handicaps on offer, by far the most intriguing is this contest, which takes place over Cheltenham’s most distinctive track. Standard fences and hurdles are set to one side for this one, with the runners instead asked to tackle the banks, hedges, and cheese wedges which populate the twisting and weaving cross-country course. Previous form over the distinctive obstacles is a positive, whilst recent seasons have seen a number of high-class contenders sent down the Cross-Country route, including Tiger Roll and Delta Work. Gordon Elliott likes to have one or two lined up for these events, as does powerful owner J P McManus.
TrustATrader Novices Hurdle
Friday 17th November, 3:30pm
Topping the bill in terms of class on Day 1 is this informative contest for the novice hurdlers, which regularly provides an early sighter of those being aimed at the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.
Youth has been favoured in this event of late, with 14 of the past 17 editions falling to a five-year-old. Included amongst that number is the brilliant Coneygree, who spectacularly went on to land the Cheltenham Gold Cup as a novice. Paul Nicholls claimed the pot with Hermes Allen in 2022 and will most likely have a talented sort lined up once again. Now in partnership with Johnson White, Philip Hobbs has sent out four winners in the 21st Century, which represents the best record of any trainer.
JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle
Saturday 18th November, 12:35pm
We go straight into the Graded action on the Saturday card, as the youngsters tackle the 2m½f course. Restricted to three-year-olds, the runners in this field are about as inexperienced as you can expect to see in the National Hunt game, but the race has often proved a breeding ground for future stars, including Champion Hurdler Katchit, who won this in 2006.
With five wins in the race, multiple champion trainer Paul Nicholls needs just one more to draw level with Martin Pipe for the all-time lead. Picking one out from the vast Nicholls squadron is no easy task at this stage, but Golden Move looks like an intriguing recruit from the flat. Sir Gino and Kado De Joie are two interesting contenders from the yard of the four-time winner of the race, Nicky Henderson.
Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase
Saturday 18th November, 2:20pm
The event, still referred to by those of a certain age as the Mackeson Gold Cup, serves as the major handicap of the fixture and represents one of the key early-season targets for the most talented handicappers in training. Previous winners have often gone on to prove themselves at the highest level – headlined by future Gold Cup king, Imperial Commander.
The younger contenders have held the edge in the current century, with 15 of 23 editions falling to a runner aged seven or below. There has been an identical 15/8 split between those carrying 11st or less and those saddled with 11st or more. When narrowing down the field, the stats suggest we should lean towards a younger runner with a relatively light weight.
Set to carry 11st7lb as things stand, the Paul Nicholls-trained Stage Star falls down on the weight trend but may have the class to cope, having landed the Turners Novices Chase at the Cheltenham Festival. Trading at around the 6/1 mark, he’s the one the market likes best at present.
The Real Whacker (10/1) rates an intriguing contender at the head of the weights, having landed the Ryanair Chase in thrilling style. Of those who conform to the age and weight trends, Il Ridoto (14/1) is thoroughly proven in this type of event, but Irish raider Final Orders (16/1) may be more open to improvement.
Sunday 19th November, 2:20pm
Those arriving early on the closing Sunday will find themselves in for a treat, as a field of Shetland Ponies get those little legs flying over the two-furlong trip. Given the somewhat niche nature of that event, we will move swiftly along to this sizzling chase contest over the two-mile trip. Well Chief, Put The Kettle On, and the sensational Sprinter Sacre have all strutted their stuff in an event which usually draws a field with Champion Chase aspirations.
Dan Skelton’s Nube Negra would be bidding for a record-setting third win in the race if rocking up this year, but did end last season under something of a cloud. Colin Tizzard, Nicky Henderson, Alan King, and Philip Hobbs are the trainers to note as the only men with more than one win to their name.
Jewson Handicap Chase
Sunday 19th November, 2:55pm
The final Graded event of the meeting places staying power to the fore, as the field tackles the demanding 3m3½f trip. Seven to nine-year-olds boast the best recent record here, with 17 of the past 23 editions falling to a runner in that bracket. Does He Know shouldered a welter burden of 12st to victory in 2022, but that result went against the overall trend, with 17 of the past 23 winners carrying less than 11st. The advantage held by the more lightly weighted runners tends to be exaggerated should the weather turn this into a real slog, which, given the weather in recent months, seems like a real possibility this year.
Philip Hobbs has an impressive record at this meeting and boasts three previous wins in this race. Of those currently still in possession of a licence, only Paul Nicholls can match that record. That said, Colin Tizzard liked to target this race, and son Joe may take up the baton.
Greatwood Handicap Hurdle
Sunday 19th November, 3:30pm
The meeting's standout handicap hurdle is comfortably the biggest betting heat on the closing Sunday, as a big field of runners lock horns over 2m½f. Invariably run at a frenetic gallop, the ability to jump quickly and accurately are the main qualities required for success, whilst a touch of class certainly doesn’t go amiss. Rooster Booster, Detroit City, and Sizing Europe are amongst those to have followed up a win in this race with a Grade 1 success back here at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
That man Phillip Hobbs tops the trainers’ table, with four wins, followed by Paul Nicholls on three. It may also be wise to note anything from the Dan Skelton operation. Relatively new to the training game – in comparison to Hobbs and Nicholls – Skelton already has two wins in the race.
Standout names amongst the current list of entries included Nemean Lion (6/1), who returned with a bang to land the Welsh Champion Hurdle for Kerry Lee, Onlyamatteroftime (16/1), who will be making his first start for Willie Mullins if making the trip over, and the impressive Under Control from the Nicky Henderson operation. Of the trainers mentioned above, Phillip Hobbs surprisingly doesn’t hold an entry; recent course and distance winner Blueking D’Oroux (12/1) heads up the Paul Nicholls quintet; and Dan Skelton’s strongest chances look to be Knickerbockerglory (10/2) and L’Eau Du Sud (10/1).
Friday 15th November 2024 – Countryside Day
- 1:10pm – Lycetts Insurance Brokers Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) – 2m 5f
- 1:45pm – Mucking Brilliant Paddy Power Handicap Chase (Class 2) – 2m
- 2:20pm – SSS Super Alloys Arkle Challenge Trophy Trial Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) – 2m
- 2:55pm – Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase (Class 2) – 3m 5¼f
- 3:30pm – Trustatrader Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 2) – 2m 5f
- 4:05pm – Valda Energy Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) – 2m ½f
Saturday 16th November 2024 – November Saturday
- 12:35pm – JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2) – 2m ½f
- 1:10pm – Wienerberger Amateur Jockeys’ Handicap Chase (Class 3) – 3m 1f
- 1:45pm – From The Horses Mouth Podcast Novices’ Chase (Listed) – 3m ½f
- 2:20pm – Paddy Power Gold Cup Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) – 2m 4¼f
- 2:55pm – Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) – 3m
- 3:30pm – Paddy Power Intermediate Handicap Hurdle (Class 3) – 2m 5f
- 4:05pm – Karndean Designflooring Mares’ Open National Hunt Flat Race (Listed) – 2m ½f
Sunday 17th November 2024 – November Sunday
- 1:10pm – mallardjewellers.com Maiden Hurdle (Class 2) – 2m ½f
- 1:45pm – cavani.co.uk Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (Class 3) – 2m 4¼f
- 2:20pm – Jewson Handicap Chase (Premier Handicap) – 3m 3½f
- 2:55pm – Shloer Chase (Grade 2) – 2m
- 3:30pm – Unibet Greatwood Handicap Hurdle (Premier Handicap) – 2m ½f
- 4:00pm – Turners Open National Hunt Flat Race (Listed) – 2m ½f
Race times and sponsors are provisional and subject to change.
About The November Meeting / Cheltenham Open
The November Meeting is run at Cheltenham Racecourse, one of the most important jumps venues in the world. Though it’s far better known for the Festival named after it that takes place in March, the November Meeting offers plenty of exciting racing and is something of a family friendly alternative to the Cheltenham Festival.
Originally entitled the Cheltenham Open, the name changed to the November Meeting from the 2017 fixture onwards. This was in order to help it avoid confusion with golf’s Open Championship, even though that takes place much earlier in the year.
The Cheltenham Festival is seen by many as being the most important meeting of the National Hunt season, so it’s somewhat fitting that most in the horse racing industry feel that the season itself gets started when this even rolls around. It’s the first major meeting after the focus being on flat racing for the previous few months.
The Origins of the November Meeting
Though the November Meeting was first officially run back in 2000, some of the races that take place during it date back as far as 1967. In fact, the meeting is quite unusual on account of the fact that it hasn’t yet had a race that has been created specifically for it. When you look at the likes of the Cheltenham Festival, for example, you’ll see a number of races were created especially for it when the meeting was extended to have a fourth day.
Whilst the Festival is an occasion for true racing lovers to embrace and get involved in watching some of the highest class of racing across the country, the November Meeting is more about attracting families and those that don’t know quite as much about racing to watch the events. The organisers decided to give it far more of a carnival atmosphere than you’d be likely to experience in March. That has led to it being quite popular, with each year seeing more and more racegoers turning up to get involved.
November Meeting Format
As mentioned, the Cheltenham November Meeting takes place over a Friday, Saturday and Sunday in November. This is at least slightly unusual, due to most meetings taking place over the best part of a week. Whilst there are still a number of high quality races over the weekend, the emphasis of the meeting is to create a much more family friendly atmosphere.
Over the course of the November Meeting, racegoers can check out bars, stalls, shops and markets in order to peruse the local produce that’s on offer. A number of family-friendly activities, such as face painting, bouncy castles and even shows, can be found.
That being said, the main event is still very much the racing, with each of the three days having some high profile Grade 2 and Premier Handicaps (formerly Grade 3) races to choose from.
Friday – Countryside Day Races
The Friday is known as Countryside Day and kicks off with the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle, though the pick of the racing comes from the two Grade 2 races. The first of those is the Arkle Trial which boasts the registered name of the November Novices’ Chase (previously run on the Saturday). The second is the Trustatrader Novices’ Hurdle, which was previously sponsored by Ballymore. This race, a Grade 2 offering since 2008, has seen some top-notch horses triumph as they continue their careers over the smaller obstacles. On top of that, the two mile Paddy Power Handicap Chase (formerly sponsored by BetVictor), Cross Country Chase, and the Novices’ Handicap Hurdle will be on offer during the opening day.
The Saturday is the biggest day of the meeting, mainly because of the Paddy Power Gold Cup. Previously named the BetVictor Gold Cup and not to be mistaken for the Gold Cup of the Cheltenham Festival, the Irish still go mad for this Premier Handicap race. Previous winners include some of the biggest names in racing, such as top chasers Imperial Commander and Our Vic. The invasion of the Irish into the town of Cheltenham often means that the parties go on late into the night on Gold Cup Day. There are other races that take place over the course of the day, like the Triumph Trial Hurdle and the Paddy Power Handicap Hurdle, but it’s the Gold Cup that grabs the headlines.
Sunday is the final day and with it comes another fantastic day of racing. Known as November Meeting Sunday, the pick of the races are the Grade 2 Shloer Chase (registered as the Cheltenham Chase) and the Premier Handicaps in the form of the Jewson Handicap Chase and the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle. Some very well-known horses have won these races in the past and the weekend as a whole is often seen as a stepping stone on the road to the Cheltenham Festival proper.
The Supreme Trial Novices’ Hurdle, registered as the Sharp Novices Hurdle which used to run on this day has been moved to October’s Showcase Meeting.
Why the Meeting Matters
Whether you’re a massive horse racing fan or only a casual observer, the fact that the Cheltenham Festival exists might well make you wonder why, exactly, you should care about the November Meeting. Obviously racing fanatics will care simply because it’s a chance to watch some racing, but for everyone else it is a fair questions to be asked.
The main answer is that this is a chance to get some idea of how the various horses taking part in the three days of racing might get on when the Cheltenham Festival rolls around four months later. Many of the horses that will be involved in March will get their first race of the season under the belts during the November Meeting, meaning that you’ll be able to see how they cope with the very course they’ll be competing on later in the season.
In terms of what might happen later in the season, the November Meeting can give you a huge amount of information if you know what you’re looking for. The Gold Cup, for example, can offer you some signs for its namesake that takes place during the Festival.
Paddy Power Gold Cup Winners – 2014 to 2023
|Winner (Year)||Weight||Age||Trainer/Jockey||Start Price|
|Stage Star (2023)||11-7||7||Paul Nicholls/Harry Cobden||4/1|
|Ga Law (2022)||11-0||6||Jamie Snowden/Jonathan Burke||5/1|
|Midnight Shadow (2021)||11-5||8||Sue Smith/Ryan Mania||9/1|
|Coole Cody (2020)||10-5||9||Evan Williams/Tom O’Brien||10/1|
|Happy Diva (2019)||11-3||8||Kerry Lee/Richard Patrick||14/1|
|Baron Alco (2018)||10-11||7||G L Moore/J E Moore||8/1|
|Splash Of Ginge (2017)||10-6||9||N Twiston-Davies/Tom Bellamy||25/1|
|Taquin Du Seuil (2016)||11-11||9||Jonjo O’Neill/Aidan Coleman||8/1|
|Annacotty (2015)||11-0||7||Alan King/Ian Popham||12/1|
|Caid Du Berlais (2014)||10-13||5||Paul Nicholls/S Twiston-Davies||10/1|
Likewise, the Greatwood Hurdle often offers you an inkling of what might happen when the Champion Hurdle rolls around in March.
Greatwood Hurdle Winners – 2014 to 2023
|Winner (Year)||Weight||Age||Trainer/Jockey||Start Price|
|Iberico Lord (2013)||11-0||5||Nicky Henderson/Nico de Boinville||7/1|
|I Like To Move It (2022)||12-0||5||Nigel & Sam Twiston-Davies||17/2|
|West Cork (2021)||10-13||7||Dan Skelton/Harry Skelton||11/1|
|The Shunter (2020)||10-0||7||Emmet Mullins/Robbie Power||13/2|
|Harambe (2019)||11-0||6||A King/Thomas Bellamy||16/1|
|Neitzsche (2018)||10-0||5||B Ellison/D McMenamin||20/1|
|Elgin (2017)||10-08||5||Alan King/Wayne Hutchinson||10/1|
|North Hill Harvey (2016)||11-00||5||Dan Skelton/Harry Skelton||6/1|
|Old Guard (2015)||10-10||4||Paul Nicolls/Harry Cobden||12/1|
|Garde La Victoire (2014)||11-09||5||Philip Hobbs/Richard Johnson||10/1|
Make notes, keep an eye on how the horses react to the going and the atmosphere and bear it all in mind when you’re lining up your Festival bets.
About Cheltenham Racecourse
Racing has been taking place in the town of Cheltenham since the start of the nineteenth century, with the first known horse race occurring in 1815. That was in the Nottingham Hill area and wasn’t impressive enough to encourage any more racing to happen in the years that followed. Another attempt was made in 1818 and was popular enough to see more of it happen the year after. In fact, it was so successful that a grandstand was built and a course laid out, with racing continuing for the following decade.
The racing proved so popular that crowds grew year-on-year, eventually leading a local religious leader named Reverend Francis Cole to object and rail against the racing to his local parishioners. In 1830 they burnt the grandstand to the ground and, combined with the throwing of bottles at horses and jockeys that had happened the year before, it was enough to see racing move to the Prestbury Park area until 1834. The racing was no longer seen as being as exciting as it had been before and, despite attempts to revive it over the next few years, it died out almost completely until the start of the twentieth century.
The Cheltenham Festival
No one was quite sure what W. A. Baring Bingham was up to when he bought ground at Prestbury Park at the turn of the Twentieth century. He started an event called The National Hunt Festival in 1902 persuaded the National Hunt to move the National Hunt Festival there in 1904. It worked so well that it ran again in Cheltenham in 1905 and then in 1911 it was decided that the meeting would call Prestbury Park its home permanently. It seemed as though racing had returned to Gloucestershire and this time wouldn’t be leaving.
Though Baring Bingham is known as the man who founded the Cheltenham Festival, it was Frederick Cathcart who turned it into the event that it would later become. He decided to make Cheltenham Racecourse the home of jump racing, expanding the event to include a third day in 1923 and then bringing the Gold Cup to the venue in 1924. That cemented the Festival in the British horse racing calendar, but the racecourse would go on to offer so much more, as the November Meeting shows.
As well as the Festival and the November Meeting, Cheltenham Racecourse is also the home of two days of jumping in December known as The Christmas Meeting. It also includes a race called the Gold Cup, which is something of a running theme for the racecourse. There’s another meeting called The New Year’s Day Meeting that, as the name suggests, takes place on New Year’s Day. Later in January is the Festival Trials Day.
The Old & New Courses
There are two courses on offer at Cheltenham, with the first being the Old Course. This is where all of the races of the November Meeting take place, as well as the first two days of the Cheltenham Festival. It boasts an oval track that is more than one mile and four furlongs in length. The run-in is three hundred and fifty yards long and that allows for more than a fair bit of excitement as the horses come to the climax of a race. The Old Course is an undulating affair, requiring jockeys to ensure that their steeds are pacing themselves well if they hope to finish strongly.
The Old Course might have seen plenty of action, but it’s the New Course that gets all of the best races. It is where The Christmas Meeting’s races take place, plus the New Year’s Day meeting. It is also oval-shaped and is one mile and five furlongs long, with the run-in being a touch shorter than the one on the Old Course at two hundred and twenty yards. It’s a track that is just as demanding as the Old Course, which isn’t a massive shock when you consider that they’re intertwined.
The meeting sees more than seventy thousand people flock to the racecourse over the three days, making it one of the biggest in the UK and easily one of the biggest for the jump season. Over the last fourteen years it’s said that the number of people heading to the event has grown by almost 30%, with Royalty being present on occasion.
Martin Pipe is one of the most successful trainers in the meeting’s history, winning the prestigious Gold Cup eight times in total since 1987. That’s not the only bit of information that we can tell you, of course, with the following also being noteworthy:
- Five horses have won the November Meeting’s Gold Cup more than once, though none have done so three or more times
- Tony McCoy is the race’s most successful jockey, having been on the winning horse on four occasions
- The Jewson Handicap Chase first took place in 1987 and Stormez is its most successful horse with two wins. Both of them were for Martin Pipe who is the race’s most successful trainer, whilst neither were ridden by its most successful jockey, Tony McCoy
- No horse has won the The Hyde (Ballymore) Novices’ Hurdle more than once for obvious reasons, but the most successful jockey with four wins is that man again, Tony McCoy. Philip Hobbs is its most successful trainer with four victories
- Another race that’s never been won more than once by the same horse, again for obvious reasons, is the Prestbury (Triumph Trial) Juvenile Novices’ Hurdle. Barry Geraghty, Ruby Walsh and Tony McCoy have all won it three times as jockeys, whilst Martin Pipe’s six wins put him ahead of any other trainer
- The Mares’ Standard Open NH Flat Race has only been running since 2013, making it one of the youngest races of the November Meeting
- The November (Arkle Trial) Novices’ Chase is a race that lends itself to being won more than once by jockeys, with no fewer than eight jockeys having done so. Richard Johnson, Ruby Walsh and Richard Dunwoody share the honour of being the most successful with four wins apiece. No other trainer comes close to the ten wins of Paul Nicholls
- The Greatwood Hurdle isn’t for novices but has never been won by the same horse more than once. The same thing can’t be said of jockeys, with Jamie Osborne, Richard Johnson and Tony McCoy each having three wins to their name. In terms of trainers, both Martin Pipe and Philip Hobbs have won it four times each