Jumps racing got back underway earlier this month, with the November Meeting at Cheltenham Racecourse acting as the traditional curtain raiser to the British season.
The three-day meeting never disappoints, with boisterous racegoers packing out the iconic concourses for the fantastic event — which includes five Grade 2s and three Premier Handicaps, which replaced Group 3 contests this season.
Unsurprisingly, there were a few shakeups in the Cheltenham Festival ante post horse race betting markets after some fantastic performances over the course of the weekend in the Cotswolds. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the big headlines from the November Meeting and find out what horses are worth keeping an eye out for back at Prestbury Park in March.
Hermes Allen carries on fine form to win the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
A pricey purchase in the Cheltenham December sales last year, costing a cool £350,000, Hermes Allen is certainly living up to his price tag in early parts of this season — winning by 27 lengths on debut at Stratford in October, before romping nine lengths clear of Music Drive to win the Group 2 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle on day one of the November Meeting.
It carried on a fantastic run of form for trainer Paul Nicholls and jockey Harry Cobden, while the part Sir Alex Ferguson-owned horse has now been slashed to as short as 8/1 with some bookmakers to win the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at the Festival in March — which might not be a bad shout if you’re looking for horse racing betting tips.
Brilliant Banbridge lands the Arkle Trial
There was more market movement in the ante post betting for next year’s Festival, as Banbridge scooped the From The Horses Mouth Podcast Arkle Trial Novices’ Chase for Joseph O’Brien — resulting in his chances of winning the Arkle itself being cut from as far out as 33/1 to as short as 10/1.
The six-year-old, who won the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at the Festival earlier this year, switched to chasing after going four for seven over hurdles and is already two for two over fences — winning a Beginners Chase at Gowran Park in October as well as the Arkle Trial. Jonbon looks like the one to beat in the Arkle, however.
Emotional Paddy Power Cup success for Ga Law
The Paddy Power Gold Cup (Premier Handicap) is the highlight of the entire weekend of racing, and there was a poignant moment as Ga Law gifted The Footie Partnership a major victory.
Owned by a group of five friends who go racing in memory of their late friend Nick Foot, the six-year-old made their dreams of a victory at Cheltenham come true as Ga Law pulled back from three lengths adrift at the last to win by little less than a length clear of French Dynamite.
Nube Negra’s connections have sights set on Champion Chase
Nube Negra got back to winning ways for the Skelton brothers — trainer Dan and jockey Harry — in the Grade 2 Cheltenham Chase, streaking home eight lengths clear of Ganapathi in the two-mile, three-horse contest, and the horse’s owner Terry Spraggett is fantasising about Queen Mother Champion Chase glory in March — claiming, “He’s good enough for it [the Champion Chase] and he was ready to ping last season against Energumene and the rest of them”.
The eight-year-old was second to Put The Kettle On in the 2021 renewal of the Champion Chase and missed out last year due to unsuitable ground. However, Nube Negra is still as far out as 33/1 in the ante post betting as Energumene and Shishkin look to reignite their rivalry.
I Like To Move It’s owners not scared of Honeysuckle or Constitution Hill
Another owner dreaming big after success on day three — the only Sunday card on the calendar at Cheltenham — I Like To Move It’s owner Jamie Sheppard has not shied away from the prospect of running his horse in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham after winning the Greatwood Handicap Hurdle (Sunday’s feature) despite two heavyweights in the shape of Honeysuckle and Constitution Hill.
“We'd love to be at that Champion Hurdle level and be part of that in March, and we think we can with him – we really do,” Sheppard said.
However, with odds as far out as 50/1 for that race, it seems unlikely that this plucky outsider is going to be a thorn in the side of the big guns.