All change for Cheltenham Festival

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  • Trainers have responded positively to Cheltenham’s proposals to extend the Festival from three to four days in 2005.

    The Cheltenham Board met earlier this week and agreed to present its proposals to the National Hunt Pattern Committee.

    If plans are accepted the Cheltenham Gold Cup would be moved from the Thursday to the Friday, the final day of the meeting.

    The Champion Hurdle would still be staged on the Tuesday with the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Wednesday feature. The Stayers’ Hurdle would probably be the main attraction on the Wednesday.

    All four days would be comprised of six-race cards. Among the new events expected to be introduced would be a cross-country race.

    Noel Chance, trainer of two Gold Cup winners Mr Mulligan and Looks Like Trouble, said: “I’m delighted it gives us trainers a chance of winning another three or four hundred thousand quid!

    “They only have to find another five races and that won’t dilute the quality.”

    Lambourn trainer Mark Pitman, who won the Gold Cup as a jockey on Garrison Savannah, said: “An extension of the meeting is a great idea and I’m all for it.

    “It’s a wonderful course and I don’t think finding fresh ground for the fourth day would be a problem.”

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