Cheltenham November Meeting (Cheltenham Open)

The November Meeting – formerly The Open, but renamed to avoid confusion with the historic golf championship of the same name – is a three-day National Hunt fixture staged annually at Cheltenham Racecourse over a weekend in November. The November Meeting is the first major meeting of the season at Cheltenham and the largest jump racing fixture before Christmas.

Day one, a.k.a. “Countryside Day”, is a traditional fund-raiser for the Countryside Alliance and the Injured Jockeys Fund. The feature race of the day is the Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Steeplechase, run over 3 miles 6 furlongs on the idiosyncratic Cross Country Course. During the race, participants must negotiate 32 obstacles, including banks, ditches, rails and the infamous “cheese wedges”.

The November Meeting Saturday is all about the feature race, the BetVictor Gold Cup. Inaugurated, as the Mackeson Gold Cup, in 1960, the race has had various sponsors and title changes over the years, but remains a Grade 3 handicap steeplechase, run over 2 miles 4½ furlongs on the Old Course at Prestbury Park.

The November Meeting Sunday is the only Sunday of the year when racing takes place at Cheltenham. The feature race is the Greatwood Hurdle, a Grade 3 handicap hurdle run over 2 miles and 110 yards on the Old Course. Although a handicap, the Greatwood Hurdle can have a bearing on the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival the following March. Rooster Booster, for example, carried 11st 12lb to an easy victory in the race in 2002, before winning even more impressively at the Festival.

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