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Festival proceeds as scheduled after wild weather fails to materialise

Runners take a bank in the Cross Country on day two
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The strong winds which had put the second day of the Cheltenham Festival into doubt failed to materialise, and all that was blown away on Wednesday were Tiger Roll's rivals in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase.

An inspection had been called for 8am on raceday morning due to the prospect of 50mph winds, but clerk of the course Simon Claisse was able to give the meeting the green light much earlier after a peaceful night in terms of weather, if not sleep for himself.

Claisse, speaking during racing on Wednesday, said: "I had a sense through the night we were going to be okay as I live fairly locally at the top of a hill, where we catch the wind, and it wasn't a blowy night.

"I also get updates on my phone when the wind speed gets above 30mph and I didn't get any notifications last night."

Cheltenham clerk of the course and director of racing Simon Claisse

Claisse added: "On Monday I didn't sleep because it was windy. Last night I didn't sleep because it wasn't windy and I was excited about the prospect of being able to give this meeting the go ahead early!

"I got to the course at about 4.45am and checked the forecast and the wind speed had come down a bit, which gave us the confidence to say we'd be okay."

The blustery conditions did not deter racegoers, with Wednesday's crowd figure of 59,209 up on last year's 58,959.

Claisse stressed that forecasts are not always accurate but, based on the information available, does not foresee the weather causing any further problems.

He said: "The way the forecast is looking at the moment wouldn't give us any cause for further concern."

The action moves onto the New course on Thursday and the going is good to soft, soft in places.


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I didn't sleep because it wasn't windy and I was excited about the prospect of being able to give this meeting the go ahead early

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