Wednesday 24 April 2019

Day Two of Cheltenham Festival will go ahead despite strong winds and heavy rain

Braving the weather: Niamh Spiller (left), from Galway, and Danielle McSorley, from Newcastle, Co Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers/INM
Braving the weather: Niamh Spiller (left), from Galway, and Danielle McSorley, from Newcastle, Co Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers/INM
Racegoers in the crowd at Cheltenham. Photo: REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

Niall Cronin

Day Two of the Cheltenham Festival will go ahead as planned today, officials at Cheltenham Racecourse confirmed this morning.

An 8am precautionary inspection had been called due to a fear that high winds could put the Cheltenham Festival on hold until Saturday, however an announcement was made by racecourse officials shortly after 6am to confirm that the Champion Chase card could be given the green light as planned.

Simon Claisse, Clerk of the Course at Cheltenham, said: “We’re delighted that the weather conditions have changed from the initial forecasts and the prospect of higher wind speeds and gusts have receded. We’re looking forward to a fantastic day’s racing on the Old Course with the feature race the £400,000 Grade 1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.”

On Tuesday morning Cheltenham had flagged up their fears of being unable to race today due to winds exceeding 50mph which could cause issues around the track especially with temporary structures put in place. 

However, with the strength of the winds forecast moderated overnight, Claisse was able to provide certainty an earlier stage than anticipated that the racing could go ahead.

A record opening day crowd attended Cheltenham yesterday with 67,934 people in attendance to witness a dramatic day of racing as Espoir D’allen claimed the Unibet Champion Hurdle for trainer Gavin Cromwell.

Sharjah and Patrick Mullins (R) keep a close eye on Buveur D’Air as they race past the stand during the Champion Hurdle yesterday David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Sharjah and Patrick Mullins (R) keep a close eye on Buveur D’Air as they race past the stand during the Champion Hurdle yesterday David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

The feature race today is the Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase as Altior bids to maintain his unbeaten record over jumps and claim a second Champion Chase at the expense of the Willie Mullins-trained Min.

Racing begins at 1.30pm with the Champion Chase due off at 3.30pm.

A reminder that you can get all the behind-the-scenes action from the 2019 Cheltenham Festival  with Michael Verney over on the Independent Sport Instagram page.

Racegoers in the crowd at Cheltenham. Photo: REUTERS/Eddie Keogh
Racegoers in the crowd at Cheltenham. Photo: REUTERS/Eddie Keogh

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