Opening day of 2024 Cheltenham Festival expecting soft ground

The opening day of the Cheltenham Festival is expected to be on soft ground, with more rain possible on Tuesday.

After the wettest February on record, the water table remains exceptionally high which meant a relatively dry weekend at the track came in very useful.

The ground is even more testing in the middle where the cross-country race takes place, with the ground described as heavy, soft in places.

“We’re happy and the track is in good shape, we’re pleased with how that looks,” said clerk of the course Jon Pullin.

“We faced a few challenges last year with grass cover, but that was on the back of a cold spell throughout the winter. It’s been a very different story this year and obviously very wet, which has given us other challenges, but we’re happy with conditions.

“We’re soft on both the Old and New course and heavy, soft in places on the cross-country. We had seven millimetres overnight into yesterday and a further 4mm throughout the day. We’re forecast to be dry today, but then we have some more showers moving in tomorrow morning before a dry afternoon.

“I think we’ll be soft ground for the first race, particularly if we get a few showers in the morning.

“We’re dry tomorrow afternoon and Wednesday looks to be as well. Thursday could be showery and the New course will probably be ready for a drop of rain by then. Thursday looks like we could still be on soft ground and we will have to see how Friday plays out.

“At the moment, Friday looks like a combination of sunshine and showers, so we could end up on soft or maybe good to soft.”


READ MORE: Cheltenham Festival 2024 guide: When is it, times, big races, top horses, trainers, jockeys and more

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