Cheltenham Festival gets the go-ahead after course inspection

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  • The opening day of the Cheltenham Festival will go ahead, after the course passed a 10.30am inspection — although the first race has been put back by 35 minutes.

    Officials had reported that parts of the Gloucestershire track were frozen this morning, after a wind chill of -12 overnight.

    Clerk of the course Simon Claisse told Channel 4’s The Morning Line that “our experiences last night were beyond anything we’ve seen before.

    He added: “[The problem areas] tend to be on some of the take-offs and landings and some of the wider ground.”

    Happily, the course passed the 10.30am inspection, although the traditional curtain-raiser — the William Hill Supreme Novices Hurdle — has been put back from 1.30pm to 2.05pm.

    And the cross-country chase, which was due to be run at 4pm, will now be held at 5.15pm on Thursday.

    Horse & Hound’s racing editor Catherine Austen is at Cheltenham throughout the Festival and will be tweeting from @horseandhound

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