Midnight Chase winning the Argento Chase at last year's Trials DayPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Cheltenham in talks over switch to Sunday
CHELTENHAM is in talks to host their Trials Day meeting on Sunday if the course is not fit for racing on Saturday.
Officials at the racecourse said that there was increased hope of the meting going ahead on Saturday as a result of the hard work of the groundstaff in removing snow lying on the frost covers but are working on a contingency plan in light of the forecast.
A further one to two centimetres of snow is forecast to fall on Tuesday night and, in the event that the course is unraceable, Cheltenham has reached agreement with the BHA that, weather permitting, Festival Trials Day could instead be staged 24 hours later on Sunday, January 27.
Clerk of the course Simon Claisse said: “We’ve made good progress today in that after yesterday’s thaw we’ve been able to move 75 per cent of the snow that was on the covers.
“We now have our fingers crossed for little snow tonight. It’s finely balanced and if we get the lower end of the 1-2cm forecast things would be looking positive, but if it’s 3-4cm you just can’t move it.”
He added: "At the moment I'm not seeing anything that would put Sunday in jeopardy but things change from day to day. We're delighted we've got to the stage where racing on Sunday is a live prospect. Having that prospect up our sleeve is positive for everyone but I've not given up hope for Saturday yet."
Cheltenham is continuing to liaise with Channel 4 as to the possibility of Festival Trials Day being broadcast on the channel on Sunday, should the eight-race card be moved to that date.
Festival Trials Day is the final fixture at Cheltenham before the Festival. The card includes the Grade 1 Victor Chandler Chase, which was transferred to Cheltenham following the abandonment of Ascot's fixture on January 19.