horses jumping a fence

01st November 2013

Preview: Racing on our courses in November

November starts with the final fixtures of the year at Newmarket, but quickly sees the jumps season in top gear with big meetings at Cheltenham and Haydock Park.

I have to admit it is one of my favourite racing months of the year. It has the first big races, the promise of the Festivals to come, crisp, frosty air and the arrival of jumps stars new and old.

There is so much to cram in I am not sure where to start, but the Colin Park Intermediate Chase at Carlisle (4 November) is an interesting race. It has been won by some future stars including Weird Al, Tidal Bay and the flying grey, Monet’s Garden. Could this Sunday fixture see AP McCoy notch up his 4000 winner?

Exeter’s BetVictor Haldon Gold Cup (5 November) is a fast and furious two mile one furlong chase that will get the blood pumping. Cue Card could start his season defending the title he won last year before winning the Betfair Ascot Chase and then the Ryanair at the Cheltenham Festival. Other runners could include the enigmatic but hugely popular Mad Moose for Nigel Twiston-Davies.

Sulekha Varma has blogged on all the preparations  at Warwick for its first jumps fixture of the new season and next week (6 November) we get to see the results of all the hard work.

Staying in the South West, Badger Ales Chase Day (9 November) at Wincanton is the course’s most prestigious raceday. Racing at Wincanton is something everyone should try to do but one lucky racegoer who buys a racecard on this day will find the golden ticket that will win them their body weight in Badger Ale.

Moustaches will be the order of the day at Sandown Park’s Gentlemen’s Day (9 November) in support of Movember. It is a great day’s racing at a smashing course and it is an ideal start to take friends who might be new to Jump racing.

The Paddy Power Gold Cup is the Saturday highlight of Cheltenham’s The Open (15/16/17 November), a meeting which signals that the new Jump season is in full swing. Nigel Twiston-Davies is the most successful current trainer in the Paddy Power Gold Cup with three victories and he has  two entries – Astracad and novice, Double Ross. Paul Nicholls enjoyed his first Paddy Power Gold Cup victory in 2012 with Al Ferof and has six entries to choose from this year headed by another grey, Unioniste who also runs in the colours of the Hales family. David Pipe sends out Dynaste who is currently favourites with the sponsor.

The Sunday sees the running of the Greatwood Hurdle. Cash and Go heads the market for Nicky Henderson. Get Me Out Of Here, trained by Jonjo O’Neill, is a potential top weight and would be an emotional winner for his trainer,

“He has been a super horse, but he has reached his level now and you have to treat him a bit like some of those old sprinters – you take your chance and hopefully one day it comes off.”

Olofi, trained by Tom George in Gloucestershire, could bid to become the first dual winner having won the contest last year, while Harry Fry has entered Karinga Dancer, who won his fourth race on the bounce in dominant fashion at Aintree.

The Betfair Chase weekend at Haydock Park (22/23 November) sees the first Grade 1 event of the British National Hunt season, the Betfair Chase, synonymous with the exploits of the mighty Kauto Star. Last year it was claimed by Paul Nicholls’ Silvinaco Conti. This year’s potential runners include standing dish, Long Run, who has finished runner up the last two years.

Also that weekend is Huntingdon’s first ever Winter Ladies Day (23 November)  which features the inaugural running of the Cambridgeshire National. At an extended three and three-quarter miles, the race is the longest run at the Cambridgeshire jump racing track. It is a chance to wrap up warm and watch some old fashioned galloping & jumping.

These are my highlights of the month coming up, but we are also racing at Newmarket, Kempton and Market Rasen. Break out your scarves and gloves, wrap up warm, grab your friends and come racing.