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Cheltenham under threat from Storm Gareth, course inspection due tomorrow morning

The festival will be extended to Saturday if tomorrow’s racing is postponed.

A racegoer adjusts his umbrella at Cheltenham.
A racegoer adjusts his umbrella at Cheltenham.
Image: Andrew Matthews

Updated Mar 12th 2019, 5:58 PM

WEDNESDAY AT THIS year’s Cheltenham Festival is potentially in danger because of Storm Gareth. 

Rain and strong winds of up to 50 miles per hour are predicted for Wednesday, when the Betway Queen Mother Champions Chase is the feature race.

Clerk of the course Simon Claisse said earlier today that they are monitoring the situation.

If Day Two is cancelled, the festival will be extended to Saturday, a statement released this evening confirmed.   

“Strong gusting winds are forecast for the area on Wednesday, but their precise strength and location are not possible to predict in advance,” Ian Renton, regional director for the south west region of The Jockey Club said.

“We are currently looking at forecasts of gusts in excess of 45 mph, which may present challenges out on the track and around the site, dependent on their direction. We will therefore do a precautionary inspection at 8am tomorrow.

We remain optimistic and we will assess the situation in the morning, working with our team, forecasters, the British Horseracing Authority and our Safety Advisory Group, in order to make a decision about whether racing goes ahead as planned.

“It’s important to let customers and participants know the exact situation as it stands. While our focus is to race tomorrow, should the weather conditions not allow this we would stage the whole of Wednesday’s card on Saturday.

“This would allow for all seven scheduled races to be re-staged to provide participants with their opportunity to race at the festival and with originally advertised conditions, which would not be possible in the two remaining days.

“Should the Saturday plan be required tomorrow, full details will be announced then, including race schedule. If racing is not able to go ahead on Wednesday, a full refund would be issued automatically to all ticket bookers.”

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Ben Blake

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