Cheltenham November Meeting Day Two: Gold Cup Day

saturday gold cup day cheltenham november meeting

Cheltenham has a long history associated with the Gold Cup, regardless of whether you’re talking about the race that’s run during the Cheltenham Festival or this one. As fun as the whole weekend is, you’re looking at a the day that is the focus of the entire November Meeting. Gold Cup Day is what everyone looks forward when the autumn months creep around. The race is one of the most important National Hunt races throughout the year and the first big race of the season. Little wonder, then, that it’s the focus of so much excitement and expectation.

We mentioned on our main page for the Cheltenham Open that it’s more of a bringing together of several different big races rather than a meeting that has had races created specifically for it in the way the Festival has. The Gold Cup is the race on which the rest of the weekend hangs its hat. On this page we’ll tell you all about what you can expect from the day itself, as well as give you important information about the various races that take place on day two of the November Meeting.

Gold Cup Day Race Card

The best laid plans of mice and men and all that. In other words, the timing of events can change at any moment for any number of reasons, so use these timings as a basis for your plans and double-check specifics when you arrive at the racecourse. The details about the races should be bang on the money, though!

Race 1 - Triumph Trial Hurdle - 12.40pm

12 40pm

Day Two gets underway with a Grade 2 hurdle race for novices. The biggest race of the weekend when it comes to looking at young horses, it’s open for three-year-olds and up. It takes place over two miles and eighty-seven yards (2m 87y) and is normally open to a reasonably small field.

In 2017 there were only six runners, so don’t expect the longest odds in the world from the bookies. One to watch if you’re keen to have an idea about horses for the future.

2017 Winners

  • Horse - Apple’s Shakira
  • Jockey - Barry Geraghty
  • Trainer - Nicky Henderson
  • Winner Prize Money - £17,085

Race 2 - Novices’ Steeple Chase - 1.15pm

1 15pm

Race number two is one where the name tells you everything you need to know. It’s a steeple chase that’s open to novices that are five or older. It’s a Class 2 race that lasts for three miles and eighty yards (3m 87y).

This will be a race where you’ll want to pick out a winner rather than opt for an Each-Way bet, given that the field is normally very small indeed. Looking back to 2017 again, there were just three runners.

2017 Winners,

  • Horse - Black Corton
  • Jockey - Bryony Frost
  • Trainer - Paul Nicholls
  • Winner Prize Money - £15,640

Race 3 - BetVictor Handicap Chase - 1.50pm

1 50pm

In a bizarre twist of programming, the third race on Day Two has the same title as the one that was run at the same time on Day One. As with the feature race of the day, this is a Grade 3 race. It’s run over three miles, three furlongs and seventy-one yards (3m 3f 71y).

The purse for this race is always quite tasty, perhaps a reflection of the fact that it’s been running since 1987. There’s normally a slightly bigger field than in the previous races of the day, often creeping up to the ten horses mark.

2017 Winners

  • Horse - Perfect Candidate
  • Jockey - Paddy Brennan
  • Trainer - Fergal O'Brien2
  • Winner Prize Money - £28,475

Race 4 - BetVictor Gold Cup - 2.25pm

2 25pm

Unquestionably the most prestigious race of Day Two, the November Meeting’s Gold Cup has been in existence since 1960. There have been numerous sponsorships of this race over the years, starting with Mackeson Stout and working its way through Murphy’s, Thomas Pink and Paddy Power before arriving at BetVictor in recent years.

The Grade 3 race is run over two miles, four furlongs and seventy-eight yards (3m 4f 78y). Horses and jockeys will have to navigate fifteen fences before they make it to the final straight, competing with a field that normally sits at around the twenty horses mark. They can be four years of age or older, running left-handed around the old course.

Because it’s such a much-loved race, we can actually tell you a little bit about its history. Five different horses have won it twice, the best-known of which was probably Gay Trip. The bay gelding won it in 1969 and then again in 1971, picking up a Grand National in the intervening year. Tony McCoy is the leading jockey thanks to his four wins, with Martin Pipe taking the badge of most successful trainer after winning the race on eight different occasions. The overall pot for the race is normally around the £160,000 mark.

2017 Winners

  • Horse - Splash Of Ginge
  • Jockey - Tom Bellamy
  • Trainer - Nigel Twiston-Davies
  • Winner Prize Money - £91,120

Race 5 - Finance Solutions Handicap Hurdle - 3:00pm

3pm

This is one of the most exciting Listed races of the weekend, taking place over just under three miles (2m 7f 208y). It’s a handicap race for horses aged four or older and typically has a field of about ten.

It is, as is so often the case, a little bit of after the Lord Mayor’s show given the race that will have finished not long before this one gets underway. Don’t be surprised if the course tends to empty of punters as they head off to pick up their winnings or drown their sorrows after the Gold Cup.

2017 Winners

  • Horse - Thomas Campbell
  • Jockey - James Bowen
  • Trainer - Nicky Henderson
  • Winner Prize Money - £17,085

Race 6 - Intermediate Novices’ Hurdle - 3.30pm

3 30pm

Another handicap race, this Class 3 race takes place over two miles, five furlongs and twenty-six yards (2m 5f 26y). It’s for younger horses of three years of age or higher, so it’s a decent one to watch to give you some clues about the future.

There’s often a decent field of around fifteen to twenty horses running in this, so it will give you an indication about which horses can handle the battle of a competitive race.

2017 Winners

  • Horse - Coole Cody
  • Jockey - Brendan Powell
  • Trainer - Michael Blake
  • Winner Prize Money - £12,512

Race 7 - Mares’ Open National Hunt Flat Race - 4.00pm

4pm

Unlike the other two days of the Cheltenham Open, Day Two boasts seven races rather than six. The day comes to a close with this Bumper, a Listed National Hunt flat race that lasts for two miles and eighty-seven yards (2m 87y).

As the name suggests, it’s only open to mares and they need to be aged between four and six. That doesn’t limit the field as much as you might think, though, with about ten horses usually expected to race.

2017 Winners

  • Horse - Posh Trish
  • Jockey - Harry Cobden
  • Trainer - Paul Nicholls
  • Winner Prize Money - £11,390

What To Expect On Gold Cup Day

Cheltenham Racecourse

Whilst the November Meeting itself is a lot more family friendly than the likes of the Cheltenham Festival, there’s no question that Gold Cup Day is the one that is taken the most seriously. The Gold Cup is the race that all of the serious gamblers come out to have a flutter on. It’s fair to suggest, therefore, that you should be expecting a bit more of a grown-up crowd than you’ll have seen on Day One. That’s not to suggest that you’ll find nothing but straight-laced people wandering around with the form guide! There’ll still be plenty of fun to be had and drinks to be drunk. It’s just that the whole day is built around the race that takes place the middle of it.

In much the same way as on Day One, the November Meeting doesn’t appeal to the Royal Family or minor celebrities in the same way as the Cheltenham Festival does. You might still spot one or two walking around, of course, but it’s a lot less likely than when the Festival is in full swing. You’ll probably be able to locate some industry stalwarts if you’re willing to look out for them. Trainers, owners and retired jockeys will all be present and correct on Day Two, so if you’re feeling brave you can always seek them out to ask for tips - don’t expect them to recommend anything other than their own horses, though!

When it comes to the sort of outfits you’re going to want to wear, make sure you’re wrapped up warm would be our advice. November isn’t the most forgiving of months at the best of times, so expect to see a fair amount of tweed and some synthetic furs. In 2017 the attendance was lower on Day Two than in the preceding few years because the rain was fairly torrential. Staying dry as well as warm would be recommended, therefore. You can wear fancy dress or what have you if that tickles your interest, but expect some funny looks as it’s not exactly the most common thing for people to do at this time of year

Final Thoughts

Day Two is the longest day of the weekend and also features the most exciting and anticipated race of the November Meeting. Gold Cup Day is always an exciting experience and this will give you a nice little practice ahead of the more well-known Gold Cup Day that takes place towards the end of March.