All systems go for Cheltenham despite cold and soggy week
Cheltenham’s two-day December meeting is likely to begin on ground described as soft, good to soft in places on Friday, despite heavy snow and rain dominating this week’s weather.
The track was covered with three inches of snow at the start of the week and, coupled with some heavy downpours, has absorbed 48mm of moisture since Sunday.
“The snow came on Sunday and stayed around until Tuesday,” said clerk of the course Simon Claisse on Thursday. “We had a wet night Tuesday into Wednesday and 90 per cent of the snow had gone yesterday morning, when we were raceable.
“Up until last Friday we still had good ground so the course has taken it well. This is a track we’ve not set foot on since April for hurdles and May for chases.”
Asked how the track might ride over the next two days, Claisse said: “Whenever it’s anything easier than good to soft, jockeys will describe it as tacky, dead and slow.
“We might catch a light shower tonight but expect a frost-free night and a dry day tomorrow, with temperatures of 4-5C.”
The going on the cross-country course was described as good to soft, soft in places on Thursday.
Conditions are described as heavy for Friday’s meeting at Bangor, with an inspection scheduled for 8am after a similarly soggy week.
“We had six inches of snow last weekend and that melted on Tuesday night into Wednesday,” said clerk of the course Andrew Morris on Thursday afternoon.
“It was accompanied by 16mm of rain as well so the track has had to take quite a large volume of water. The ground is heavy and we’re currently raceable.
“We’re due somewhere around 3-4mm before racing tomorrow, which we’d be happy we’d be able to take, but if there are larger volumes than forecast then the chance of racing might not be great.”
Saturday’s meeting at Hereford is also subject to an 8am inspection on Friday morning, with snow in the back straight slow to shift and causing issues.
Clerk of the course Libby O'Flaherty said on Thursday: “A lot of the snow has thawed out but there’s still some on the hurdle track, and the hill going up the back straight is covered from rail to rail.
“There’s still around two inches on the hill and we’ll see how we’re looking in the morning.”
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