Cheltenham: covers were put down on Wednesday
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By James Burn 10:39AM 26 JAN 2017
ANY fears the cold snap in Britain would threaten Cheltenham’s star-studded nine-race card on Saturday were again dismissed on Thursday morning by clerk of the course Simon Claisse.
Claisse and his team covered the track and vulnerable areas of the cross-country course on Wednesday in advance of the fixture, which features Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Thistlecrack in the BetBright Trial Cotswold Chase, the rearranged Spectra Cyber Security Solutions Clarence House Chase, which originally scheduled for last week’s abandoned fixture at Ascot, plus a host of contests chock-full of festival clues.
Asked if he anticipated any problems, Claisse said: “No, nothing has changed.
“We got down to nearly -8C with the wind chill, which one would expect to have some effect on the ground that wasn’t covered, but it hasn’t, so we’re raceable on all three tracks – chase, hurdle and cross-country.
“The forecast for us remains the same. We could get a touch of frost tonight and then it’ll turn milder Friday night into Saturday with a little bit of rain.”
The ground on the chase and hurdle tracks is good to soft and Claisse added: “If we get that 3-5mm of rain on Friday night, depending on its proximity to racing, we may well end up with soft, but the forecasts are fairly volatile at the moment.”
Seven declared for rearranged Clarence House
Willie Mullins will have just his second runner in Britain this season after Un De Sceaux was among the seven declared for the rearranged Clarence House Chase.
His only runner to date was Un De Sceaux, who won the Tingle Creek at Sandown last month, and the Ryanair Chase favourite will face the 2015 winner of that festival race Uxizandre.
Champion Chase third Special Tiara, former Champion Chase winner Dodging Bullets, Top Gamble, Royal Regatta and Eastlake complete the field.
Six of the nine races from Cheltenham will be screened on ITV4 on Saturday along with three from Doncaster, including the Sky Bet Chase for which Holywell, Vicente and Out Sam were among the 16 declared.