As the leaves turn from green to brown so the attention of British racing turns from the Flat to the jumps season. Although bigger prizes lay in wait further down the line, November is chock full of top notch racing action that will lay the blueprint for what to expect at the turn of the year and into the spring.
Attention is immediately drawn to Wetherby on the first Saturday of the month, and the Grade 2 bet365 Charlie Hall Chase, the first opportunity to see some of the big names in the staying chase division strutting their stuff.
The Colin Tizzard-trained Thistlecrack, much blighted by injury over the past two seasons, looks set to take his chance in the race as he attempts to return to the sensational form that saw him win the King George VI Chase at Kempton in 2017.
Moving through the month, two weeks after Wetherby comes Cheltenham’s November meeting, three days of top-quality action from the home of British jump racing. There are informative novice contests, the valuable Greatwood Hurdle and the mouthwatering prospect of Altior in the Shloer Chase, while the BetVictor Gold Cup is one of the most hotly contested handicap chases of the season.
This year’s field will undoubtedly be as competitive as ever, with Cheltenham Festival winners The Storyteller, Tully East and Mister Whitaker all towards the top of the ante-post market.
The first Grade 1 of the season and the first leg of jump racing’s triple crown, the Betfair Chase, falls on the final Saturday of the month. Native River and Might Bite look set to renew their rivalry after their pulsating Cheltenham Gold Cup encounter last March.
However, to suggest this will be merely a two-horse contest would be wrong. Last year’s winner Bristol De Mai, last season’s best novice staying chaser Waiting Patiently and even 2017 Gold Cup hero Sizing John could feature in a contest sure to be one of the early highlights of the core season.