Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Cheltenham chief is wary of soft opener

Cheltenham clerk of the course Simon Claisse has warned that the 2009 Festival could get under way on soft ground should the forecast rain arrive ahead of tomorow’s curtain-raiser.

With blustery and wintry showers currently invading the Prestbury Park circuit, conditions are described as good to soft.

However, with a weather front due to move through tonight, officials are expecting the going to ease before drier and brighter weather takes hold at the end of the week for the totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup.

"We are experiencing a showery day today and it will be the same again tomorrow, which will give us four or five millimetres of rain," said Claisse.

"Monday night into Tuesday, a rain band will move through giving us five or six millimetres, so overall we are looking at up to 10 millimetres before racing starts on Tuesday.

"If we get five or six millimetres on Tuesday morning then that could swing the ground round to soft."

The second day of last year’s meeting was lost after the course was battered by a storm.

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