Testing ground guaranteed for day one but no inspection plans at Cheltenham

Mon 12 Mar 2018

Conditions at Cheltenham were heavy, soft in places on the two main tracks on Monday afternoon.

However, Tuesday's opening card of the four-day Festival is not in any doubt, according to clerk of the course Simon Claisse.

Claisse revealed that 14 millimetres had fallen on the course since Sunday night but that it had finally stopped just after 4pm.

"I think the rain has almost stopped actually. It started last night and we've had just a little bit over what was anticipated, up to 14mm by now," he said.

"As a consequence of that, we've changed the ground to heavy, soft in places on both the Old and New Courses. The Cross Country is not so slow, that's soft, heavy in places.

"The outlook now is for a dry night and a dry day tomorrow and Wednesday, with temperatures around 10 or 11 degrees, which should be very pleasant for racegoers. We might even see the ground less slow over the next couple of days.

"Unless that forecast is spectacularly wrong, there's no danger of an inspection."

The next significant rain is due overnight on Wednesday.

"There could be quite a bit of rain Wednesday night into Thursday, but we have got a lot of fresh ground on the New Course, so I think we'll be in good shape come the end of the week too," said Claisse.

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