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Just three runners with firm ground for veterans' feature

Godsmejudge: trainer David Dennis was pleased with his recent run
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Leicester clerk of the course Jimmy Stevenson yesterday admitted it was unfortunate today's £30,000 veterans' chase had attracted just three runners because of the quick ground and warned conditions would likely be similar for Thursday's meeting at the track.

The course lost its last fixture because the ground was hard and the lack of rain this autumn has been a particular problem for Stevenson, who yesterday described the going on the chase course as firm.

It is good to soft, good in places over hurdles, but that circuit has been watered during the summer, when it is used for Flat racing.

"There's no question it's because of the quick ground and it's not ideal," Stevenson said of the three-runner line-up. "It's unfortunate, but at least we're racing. There is nothing we can do about. We're not allowed to water – our irrigation licence runs out on November 1. That's from the Environmental Agency and goes from April 1 to November 1.

"The hurdlers are on the Flat course, which has been irrigated all summer, that's why you get such variations. It has been so dry in September and October that it's particularly quick on the chase course this year.

"There's no rain forecast so it'll remain quick and we're in the hands of the gods."

The race has been moved to the front of the card at 1.00 and Steven added: "At 10am yesterday we had only two runners in it so we didn't want one of them pulling out and having a walkover, so we put it at the front in case that scenario happened."

David Dennis, whose Godsmejudge will face Forgotten Gold and Caulfields Venture, said: "Everyone's shied away from the firm ground and he wouldn't want it too quick, but decent conditions might help him as he's had problems with his wind.

"I was very pleased with his reappearance at Cheltenham this month. He ran a solid race and should come on for that. Two miles six would be on the sharp side for him, but seeing as there are only two others I thought we'd put him in. He's dropped down to handy mark of 119."

There's no rain forecast so it'll remain quick and we're in the hands of the gods

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