Cheltenham cross-country threat
Cheltenham may be forced to abandon the cross-country race at The Open due to the prevailing fast conditions.
The cross-country race could be abandoned
Trainers up and down the country have been hoping for rain with the dry spell extending deep into the autumn and the unseasonal weather is causing problems for racecourses too.
The cross-country course at Cheltenham is situated in the middle of the track and the main course takes priority for irrigation meaning the current going is currently firm, hard in places.
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"I'm told there is the possibility of some rainfall this Sunday and Monday but that is also what we were told last Monday and that rain petered out by the end of the week," clerk of the course Simon Claisse told www.theguardian.com.
"We will be putting on 5mm or 6mm [on the Old Course] this week because it will be too late, by the beginning of next week, to do anything if that rain doesn't come.
"The forecast rain will keep the chase and hurdles tracks in very good nick. The cross-country would need considerably more and we will have to give consideration, next week, to the question of whether we can provide safe ground for that race.
"The cross-country course is currently firm, hard in places. If we have to continue to water the Old Course, we won't have any chance of getting the cross-country back to good to firm."
Claisse added that Cheltenham will work with the British Horseracing Authority to arrange an alternative contest if the cross-country race cannot take place
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