Tingle Creek forecast 'posing a few headaches' before superb Sandown Saturday
There is the potential for up to 15 millimetres of rain to fall at Sandown in the lead-up to and including Tingle Creek Chase day but track officials expect conditions on the chase course to be not too testing.
The chase going on Friday morning was eased from good to soft, soft in places to soft, good to soft in places while the hurdle track turned to heavy, soft in places from soft, heavy in places.
A further 4mm of rain fell overnight into Friday, but it is set to remain dry through the first day of the two-day meeting.
Looking ahead to the weekend, clerk of the course Andrew Cooper said: “It might be that the rain doesn’t quite reach the volumes we’ve been forecast as it’s been quite a volatile outlook for Friday and Saturday. It’s been posing a few headaches for the weather forecasters.
“It’s unsettled and the overnight temperatures don’t look desperately cold – there’s nothing concerning us at this juncture on that front. It’s just not a straightforward and clearcut outlook in terms of rain.
"It would be on the easy side but I don’t see it being too testing over fences unless the rain really gets going in the next 48 hours.”
The Betfair Tingle Creek Chase and Planteur At Chapel Stud Henry VIII Novices’ Chase have attracted six-runner fields stacked with quality that delight Cooper, with a crowd in the four figures but not approaching 2,000 spectators expected.
Cooper said: “The Grade 1 fields on Saturday are superb and it’s tricky to picture a stronger Henry VIII field in recent years. It’s everything that a Grade 1 novice chase this side of Christmas should be and the Tingle Creek is a fabulous renewal.
"A couple of races are light on the Saturday and we have moved a couple to Friday to boost ITV’s coverage across both days, but it’s a day about quality and it’s definitely there.
“I don’t think we’re minded to be pushing the 2,000 spectator capacity boundary as it’s our first toe in the water in welcoming back some racegoers. We’re not going to be maxing out on things and want everyone to come and have a safe, enjoyable experience and for us to get it right. We’re looking at a crowd in the four figures but we’re not going to be right near the available allocations.”
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