Storm Gareth puts day two of Cheltenham Festival under threat

first_imgShare on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Read more Horse dies and three jockeys suspended in Cheltenham Festival drama Support The Guardian Share on Pinterest … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Horse racing “Strong gusting winds are forecast but their precise strength and location are not possible to predict” Ian Renton, the track’s managing director, said on Tuesday. “We are looking at forecasts of gusts in excess of 45mph, which may present challenges on the track and around the site, dependent on their direction.“We remain optimistic and we will assess the situation in the morning, working with our team, forecasters, the British Horseracing Authority and our Safety Advisory Group, in order to make a decision about whether racing goes ahead.”The second day at the Festival was cancelled owing to high winds in 2008 but the meeting still concluded as planned on Friday with none of the races on the programme lost. The cards on the Thursday and Friday both started at 12.30pm, rather than the current start time of 1.30, with 10 and nine races respectively.There were 19 races scheduled for the final three races of the meeting 11 years ago, while this year’s Festival has 21, following the addition of the Dawn Run Mares’ Novice Hurdle and the JLT Novice Chase to the programme.As a result, it would be necessary to start racing before midday to complete a full programme of races before dark. The course is also understood to have been mindful of possible welfare concerns if it decided to stage so many races over two days, for instance in ensuring that all horses are thoroughly checked by a vet before competing as is mandatory for the first time this year. Since you’re here… Espoir D’Allen shock winner of Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham Cheltenham has drawn up plans to move the second day of the Festival to Saturday amid fears Storm Gareth, which was expected to arrive in the area overnight, would force the abandonment of the Champion Chase card for the second time in 11 years.A precautionary inspection to assess the conditions has been called for 8am on Wednesday, with wind speeds as high as 50mph forecast for much of the day. Moving an entire card back by three days is without precedent and would present a huge logistical problems, for example in finding sufficient casual staff for bars and restaurants. A significant number are believed to be engaged to work at Twickenham on Saturday during England’s final Six Nations’ match against Scotland. The move would also require the full approval and cooperation of emergency services.A benefit of a wholesale switch would be that all of Wednesday’s races would take place as advertised on the Old course, which is used for the first two days of the meeting with the action switching to the New course on Thursday and Friday.“While our focus is to race is to race tomorrow, should the weather conditions not allow this we would stage the whole of Wednesday’s card on Saturday,” Renton said. “This would allow for all seven scheduled races to be restaged to provide participants with their opportunity to race at the Festival and with originally advertised conditions, which would not be possible in the two remaining days.”If Wednesday’s card is abandoned, all ticket-holders will receive automatic refunds, while tickets for Saturday’s meeting will be available on Cheltenham’s website. There will be only two enclosures if the card is moved, with Club and Tattersalls combined to form a single enclosure and the Best Mate enclosure also open on the other side of the track. news Cheltenham Festival Read more Share on Twitter Cheltenham Festival 2019 Share via Email Topics Share on WhatsApp Share on Messenger Reuse this contentlast_img

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