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Cheltenham Festival to Start on a Soft and More Testing Ground

Cheltenham Festival to Start on a Soft and More Testing Ground

It seems that this year’s Cheltenham Festival is likely to have a soft ground and this could bring a tougher competition for the inside line. This is the first time it has happened in nearly two decades. Recent weather conditions worsened by storm Emma brought in a terrible combination or snow and rain over the last few weeks causing the surface of the racecourse to be soft. In fact, this could be the softest ground for this massively important betting event since 1995 – the year when pre-race favourite Master Oats won this festival. Nicky Henderson was able to check out the tracks and expects it to be “a lot messier” as parts of the course are puddingy.

While the fresh ground is still in good condition, it seems to be limited as there will only be a strip of 6 meters inside of the course for Tuesday and Wednesday. A bigger fresh ground will be allot for the last 2 days of the race which will happen on Thursday and Friday. Some surfaces that have been raced on several times have already taken a beating and this has already caused leading trainer Alan King to pull some of his stable out including Dingo Dollar and Mia’s Storm.

According to Simon Claisse, Regional Head of Racing, South West and Clerk of the Course, announced that the going remains “soft, heavy in places” stating that the tracks drying out prior to the start of the race is unlikely to happen. The first 2 days of the event is expected to by dry but the third day will have around 9mm of rain in the morning.

Irish racehorse trainer Willie Mullins was on the tracks last Sunday to check on the final groundings of this possible runners. He also has to decide Douvan’s race as the seven-year-old thoroughbred has not raced after suffering a small stress fracture to his pelvis and finished seventh last year.

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