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Soft ground likely for opening day following significant rainfall

Cheltenham: going eased to soft, heavy in places on Saturday morning
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Clerk of the course Simon Claisse expects the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival will begin on soft ground or possibly worse following 14mm of rain at the track overnight.

The going on Saturday morning was eased to soft, heavy in places (from good to soft, soft in places) following the significant rainfall.

Showers are forecast at the track until Monday, with up to 6mm of rain predicted to fall, and Claisse does not foresee conditions drying out considerably for the opening day.

Claisse said on Saturday morning: "We've had a little more rain than we expected with 14mm falling at the track overnight and it's a showery outlook from now through to Monday.

"I don't envisage the ground drying out considerably in time for Tuesday – we may shed the heavy in places depending on how much we get through the forecast showers, but I wouldn't see it reversing to good to soft."

William Hill make the festival beginning on soft ground a 2-7 chance, with heavy 7-2, good to soft 11-2 and good 250-1.

A dry day is forecast for Tuesday, while up to 9mm of rain may fall on Wednesday prior to a potentially dry last two days of the festival, but Claisse warns that is a long way off yet.

Claisse said: "We're expecting a dry day on Tuesday then there is rain predicted for Wednesday. At the moment it looks like it will be dry for the final two days, but that is some way out yet."


Read The Briefing from 8.30am daily on racingpost.com with all the day's latest going, weather, market moves and non-runner news

We may shed the heavy in places depending on how much we get through the forecast showers, but I wouldn't see it reversing to good to soft
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