November's jumps action sounds a familiar note with the Charlie Hall Chase on the 2nd of the month ushering in the start of the National Hunt season proper. It seems long overdue for the jumps season to take centre stage, and an underwhelming Flat season will almost be out the door come mid-November though the first weekend in the month welcomes the increasingly downbeat Breeders' Cup series.
This has been a pretty average Flat campaign in Britain, blighted by an ordinary Classic generation and despite a dearth of seemingly high-class two-year-olds, we can only hope that something decent pops out of the woodwork over the winter to grab the headlines next spring. On November 2nd Ascot also stages a cracking meeting with the United House Gold Cup Handicap Chase serving as the tastiest morsel on a tempting card. Watch out too for any Nicky Henderson-trained runner in the 2m handicap hurdle at Ascot.
The following week sees the Haldon Gold Cup saunter onto the stage on the fifth of the month, and there is sure to be a classy line-up for this Graded event. Ryanair Chase hero Cue Card is confidently expected to start his season off with a win and let's hope Colin Tizzard has him ready to express his many talents. Phillip Hobbs squeezed a rowdy kind of tune last term out of Captian Chris and Wishfull Thinking, who both endured mixed campaigns and the pair will be trying to do better in 2012/13. This might be an ideal starting point for Captain Chris.
Doncaster's November Handicap on the 9th of the month brings the curtain down on the Flat, and this race is worth less and less in prize money and gets harder and harder to work out with each passing year.
Over at Wincanton we should watch out for whatever Paul Nicholls sends out for the Badger Ales Trophy, and rumour suggests that the admirably tough Poungach has been laid out to land this decent prize.
The BetVictor Gold Cup on November 16th is the highlight of Cheltenham's magnificent three-day Open Meeting. Traditionally the winner of this valuable prize is a young horse, enjoying its second season over fences that has won or preferably been placed at the previous Cheltenham Festival.
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Currently Dynaste heads the sponsor's betting and fulfils the aforementioned identikit for a would-be Paddy Power winner. However, Dynaste is probably not as good as he is cracked-up to be and is not a certain runner for David Pipe. The admirably consistent John's Spirit was a comfortable winner at Cheltenham's October meeting, and could play a big hand in the race's outcome for Jonjo O'Neill.
On November 17th Henderson could set the final day on fire with My Tent Or Yours poised to challenge for Sunday's big race, the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle, while the immensely exciting Sprinter Sacre could return to action in the Shloer Chase on Sunday's card.
The following Saturday, November 23rd, sees the Betfair Chase upping the jumps ante at Haydock and Nicky Henderson's Gold Cup hero, Bob's Worth, is a possible for that race too, setting up a mouth-watering clash with Silviniaco Conti. Expect the reigning Gold Cup hero to come out on top. On the same day Ascot stages the Coral Hurdle and the Amlin Chase on a card that suggests the jumps season is well and truly under way.
Finally, a marvellous month of jumping treats closes with the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury on November 30th. This is simply one of the very best handicap chases run anywhere between November and April (of next year) and duly crowns an always cracking Newbury card. This time around the race is likely to be a bit more open than usual with Rocky Creek looking to be the best of the home team and RSA Chase hero Lord Windermere representing a strong Irish challenge.
Malcolm Heyhoe writes weekly horse racing articles for GG.COM-Horse racing betting, information, news, results and free daily tips
Archive October 2013
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