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Soft ground at Cheltenham with forecast weekend rain key to going on day one

The 2020 Cheltenham Festival has come under the spotlight from the Irish media
Cheltenham Festival: incoming band of rain to determine festival goingCredit: Michael Steele (Getty Images)

Conditions are currently soft at Cheltenham, where the severity of a band of rain from Friday will determine the ground that the festival will start on.

A dry period is forecast before 8-10mm is predicted to fall between Friday and Sunday. Light rain is also forecast for the opening day of the festival on March 15.

The Supreme Novices' Hurdle, the meeting's traditional curtain-raiser, has been run on soft ground for the last three seasons, having been heavy in 2018 and good to soft the year before.

Last year's Supreme Novices' Hurdle was run on soft ground
Last year's Supreme Novices' Hurdle was run on soft groundCredit: Pool

Clerk of the course Jon Pullin believes it is too early to call what the ground will be like come 1.30pm on Tuesday week.

He said: "We've got a dry forecast for the next few days with some rain around, but we're uncertain of what volume at the moment, from Friday to Sunday.

"It's too far out to think what we'll start on and not enough certainty with the forecast we're expecting, but preparations are going very well and we're pleased where we are currently. We'll monitor the forecast for the next few days and hopefully get to a point that we're happy with."

This year's Supreme is set to be one of the races of the festival, with the Nicky Henderson-trained duo Constitution Hill and Jonbon, and the Willie Mullins trio Sir Gerhard, Dysart Dynamo and Kilcruit, among the contenders.

Pullin said: "We're certainly looking forward to the Supreme, it's a really competitive race and hopefully kicks off the festival in great style."

Admission tickets for the final two days of the meeting have already sold out.

Read more:

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The Cheltenham Ultimate Guide is everything the smart punter needs for the 2022 Cheltenham Festival. With big-race previews, tips, trends and much, much more, the Cheltenham Ultimate Guide has it all. Order now.

Matt RennieReporter

Published on 6 March 2022inNews

Last updated 19:20, 6 March 2022