CHELTENHAM Racecourse walked good, good to firm in places on the chase and hurdle courses this morning just four days before the start of the 2012 Festival, according to clerk of the course Simon Claisse.
Watering will continue over the next couple of days to help ensure that the meeting will kick off on Tuesday with the ground described as on the slow side of good.
“We watered both the old and new courses yesterday and will continue to do so up until Friday afternoon,” Claisse said this morning.
“Hopefully we'll have been able to water the ‘good to firm' out of the ground and take a look at the forecast again.”
Claisse admitted: “But my hunch is we will be watering at the weekend so we can start the meeting on the slow side of good, or good to soft.”
The official going to be good to soft for the opening Supreme Novices' Hurdle on Tuesday is odds-on with Betfair punters, but there was some money for ‘good' in that market last night.
Tony Martin isn't fazed by |the ground for his novice hurdler and Grade One winner Benefficent who will run either the Neptune or the Albert Bartlett next week.
The Deloitte Novice Hurdle winner made every yard a winning one at Leopardstown on that occasion and was returned a massive 50/1 as he beat highly regarded Sous Les Cieux and Cash And Go.
Martin said: “He's been in great order since the Deloitte. He'll run on either Wednesday or Friday, I haven't decided yet. We'll see what the races look like nearer to the time.
Of the ground the Meath trainer added: “It was yielding ground the last day so I'm not bothered by the ground so much. He's a good actioned horse so he'll handle it quicker.”
Meanwhile, all the major names stood their ground at |the latest forfeit stage for Tuesday's card with Hurricane Fly facing a possible field of 11 rivals in the Champion Hurdle, Sprinter Sacre tops 10 in the Arkle, while Quevega is still joined by Unaccompanied in |the 24 standing their ground |for the Mares’ Hurdle.