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Cheltenham to inspect at 8am (chase/hurdles) and 11am (cross-country)

  PICTURE: Patrick McCann (  

Cheltenham to inspect on third day of festival

FOR the third day in succession Cheltenham will have to pass an inspection, although clerk of the course Simon Claisse is very optimistic racing will again beat the elements. 

Temperatures were forecast to fall to -6C on Wednesday night, leading Claisse to call an 8am inspection of the hurdle and chase courses, although he will pass the track fit for racing before then if possible.

"Temperatures are a little cooler tonight, with -6 in the air and a possible windchill of -7 or -8," he said on Wednesday night. 

Racing switches to the New course on Thursday, which has been covered since Sunday, and Claisse predicted the ground will be predominantly good to soft.

The Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase, re-arranged from Tuesday, is subject to an 11am inspection with the possibility of the race moving for a third time if the track remains frozen.

Claisse added: "Hopefully we'll get it run tomorrow but we would push it back if needed."

Groundstaff may add a binding agent to the wood chip road crossing the chase course in future to prevent a repeat of the trips Sizing Europe and Lord Windermere suffered on Wednesday.

The road crosses the Old course before the final bend, which is a short run before the penultimate fence, and Sizing Europe [Champion Chase runner-up] and Lord Windermere [RSA Chase winner] appeared to lose their footing at that point. 

Henry de Bromhead, trainer of Sizing Europe, said: "It's quite loose on that wood chip and maybe Sizing Europe's trip was something to do with that."

The Old course is not in use for the remainder of the meeting but Claisse said groundstaff were looking into ways of preventing further slips or trips.

He said: "It's never given us a problem before so we'll have to take a look at it and might use some sort of binding agent."

As with the first day, Wednesday's crowd of 53,295 was the best since the meeting switched to four days in 2005.

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