Racing all over the worldAn exciting month of horse racing includes the Melbourne Cup, Breeders’ Cup and Betfair Chase. Angus Loughran looks ahead to all the action
November is arguably the most diverse racing month in the calendar, with action from the world's most prestigious international flat meetings as well as some top class jumps action across the UK.
First off, the eyes of the racing world are all on Australia for the first Tuesday of the month as the Melbourne Cup descends on the historic Flemington Racecourse.
One of the world's richest flat races, with a purse of AUD$5.5 million, it is also the most prestigious 'two-mile handicap' in the world and has been run since 1861.
British trainers traditionally send out a very strong brigade to try and take the cup back to these shores, though none has succeeded since Dermot Weld trained Media Puzzle to victory in 2002.
Last year, Luca Cumani came agonisingly close to breaking that trend when Bauer finished second by a nose to 40/1 shot Viewed.
The trainer of that horse, Bart Cummings, has won “the race that stops a nation” a record 12 times so any runner of his is worthy of serious respect. It was the second consecutive near miss for Cumani, who had saddled Purple Moon to second by half a length in 2007.
Given that the last three winners have returned 16/1 or bigger, it can pay to take a chance with your Melbourne Cup selections.
It's then off to beautiful Santa Anita Park in California for the staggeringly rich Breeder's Cup series.
Last year saw an astonishing total prize fund of $25.5 million and this is more than enough to attract the best horses and trainers from all corners of the globe.
The three most prestigious races on the card, the Breeder's Cup Mile, Turf and Classic, have combined prize pools of a cool $10 million between them. The former of these is likely to see the French superstar Goldikova, last year's champion, go off a very well supported favourite.
She will probably be challenged by several British-based contenders, though there hasn't been a UK winner since 1995 so my advice would be to not oppose the French jolly lightly.
The Breeder's Cup Turf has a much healthier record for our trainers, with seven of the last 11 winners being British based.
Last year saw this trend continue, with the Sir Michael Stoute trained Conduit taking the honours.
Now a four-year-old, the champion is expected to return and given that 18 of the last 23 winners have been from the older generation, he would look to have every chance again.
It was Stoute's third victory in the race, making him the most successful Breeder's Cup Turf trainer in history. Also watch out for any Frankie Dettori mount – the little Italian has also won the renewal on three occasions, more than any other jockey.
But many people's highlight is the Breeder's Cup Classic, considered by many to be the premier race of the year with only the Dubai World Cup surpassing its $5 million purse.
And this year's renewal could be extra special if Sea The Stars lines up. Already the first horse to complete a 2000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and Coral Eclipse treble since 1989, the son of Urban Sea could break even more records if he were to come across the Atlantic and conquer the Classic. The multiple Group 1 winning colt will be looking to become the third consecutive three-year-old winner, following in the footsteps of Curlin (2007) and Raven's Pass (2008).
Last year's renewal, with the John Gosden trained Raven's Pass and Aidan O'Brien's Henrythenavigator making a British one-two, would suggest that the balance of power may be moving away from the American trained runners. And the John Oxx superstar may take some stopping this time around. However, such is the quality of the race that no runner can be completely ruled out – just think back to 1993, when Arcangues triumphed by two lengths at odds of 133/1!
It's not all about international racing, however, as the UK jumps season starts to really kick into gear around this time of year.
One of the early highlights of the season is the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock, where you can expect several Cheltenham Gold Cup hopefuls to be lining up.
The three-mile renewal has been dominated by Kauto Star in recent years – the
Paul Nicholls legend won in 2006 and 2007 before suffering a shock defeat when 2/5 favourite last year when unseating Sam Thomas at the last.
Stable-mate Denman missed last year's race through injury but if he take his place then we could be in for the best renewal in the short history of the contest.
But sadly the race will not feature Exotic Dancer, who passed away after the Totesport Bowl at Aintree in April. One of the most consistent horses of the last few years, he will be sorely missed.
Clearly November has some of the world's best racing from around the world to get stuck into – whether it's flat or jumps your into, I wish you the best of luck with your betting month.