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Another 10mm set to fall at Cheltenham with ground already heavy in places

Cheltenham clerk of the course Simon Claisse
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More rain than was originally forecast is now expected at Cheltenham, where the festival was already set to open on Tuesday at its softest for at least 20 years, with parts of the course having turned to heavy on Saturday.

While clerk of the course Simon Claisse confirmed it was dry through Saturday night into Sunday morning, and that there were "just spits and spots" of rain through the day, breakfast time on Sunday brought a prediction from the track's weather expert John Kettley that more rain than originally forecast would fall on Sunday through to Monday.


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The track had already had a total of 16mm over 24 hours to force a change in the official going description on Saturday to soft, heavy in places.

Claisse reported: "The significant change is that we are now due more rain before we kick off. We are now expecting up to 10mm between now and Monday night, rather than the 6mm we were previously talking about.

"The effect of that will depend upon its timing and intensity, but we are going to be starting on soft or slower. Although it hasn't started yet, we are still forecast possibly 10mm of rain through to Monday."

"The midweek rain, which is up to 9mm, now looks set to be split between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, but the effect will be the same."

Claisse, who insisted that the adverse forecast will not put the meeting in any danger, added: "The heaviest ground is behind the two-mile starts, and so only affects races over two-and-a-half and four miles, but where we have the intersections of the Old and New courses – in front of the stands, at the end of the back straight, and at the bottom of the hill as they turn for home – those areas are heavy too." 


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The significant change is that we are now due more rain before we kick off. We are now expecting up to 10mm between now and Monday night
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