Ground forecast to be on easy side for Friday opening card
Although Cheltenham looks odds-on to lose the cross-country chase on Friday, clerk of the course Simon Claisse was upbeat in his assessment of the ground for the remainder of this weekend’s three-day Open meeting.
Speaking at a media morning at Kempton, Claisse said: “I'm confident we will start the meeting on Friday with ground on the easy side of good as we are forecast 9-10mm of rain on Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning, and more of the same with another belt of 10-12mm coming in on Friday so we might end up being good to soft come Saturday.
“If all of that materialises then we'll be very happy as it means the course will have taken more rain in a few days than it has for the last two months or so. If the forecast is wrong and the rain does not arrive on Tuesday everything is in place to water on Wednesday morning to make sure we end up on easy ground.”
Claisse is close to admitting defeat in his attempt to stage Friday's cross-country chase on the inside of the course. He said: “We'll make a decision on whether it is run on Wednesday morning but will need around 70-90mm of rain which does not look likely to say the least, so the chances have to be very, very slim indeed.”