Cross-Country in jeopardy at Open

Cheltenham is to take entries for a long-distance handicap chase on the conventional course which could replace the cross-country contest on Friday week's card.

They might not race on the Cross Country course next week

The cross-country race might be postponed to the January fixture, as the going on that course was described as hard, firm in places on Wednesday.

Not enough rain is forecast in the interim and watering will not be enough to ease conditions sufficiently.

Entries for the replacement race will be open on Saturday and a decision on the cross-country race will be made early next week, after the senior course inspector for the British Horseracing Authority assessed the ground in a visit to the track on Tuesday.

"The likelihood of us having a deluge of rainfall over the weekend is diminishing. What we were forecast between now and next Friday has gone down in quantity," said clerk of the course Simon Claisse.

"The cross-country course is still hard, firm in places. We're doing what we can with the watering on it, but it's not going to make any difference in the period of time that we have.

"We are going ahead with our plan to put up an alternative opportunity for trainers to enter on Saturday and we will make a decision in the early part of next week.

"We're not optimistic about the weather being sufficiently helpful.

"The BHA senior course inspector came on Tuesday. I thought it was firm, hard in places and he reckoned it was hard, firm in places, so we're further away than we need to be."

Read More at Sporting Life

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