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Cheltenham to Start Watering for Festival

Simon Claisse, Clerk of the Course and Director of Racing at Cheltenham Racecourse has said that they will start watering the course today.

© Caroline Norris

Cheltenham racecourse

He said: “We think we might have temperatures of 15 and 16 degrees Celsius by the end of the week.

“The course was pretty well frozen from Festival Trials Day (January 28) until Tuesday of last week.

“We managed to get a bit of fertiliser on it last week and I have taken the decision this morning that we will start to water the course, primarily to activate that fertiliser.

“If I had to give a going description now, I would call it good, good to firm in places and my expectation would be, without the six to seven millimetres of irrigation we are going to put on, that come Sunday or Monday we would be good to firm.

“The outlook that I have been given today for the next week is predominantly dry. We still remain somewhere between 40 to 50 per cent of our normal expected annual rainfall.

“February, apart from a little bit of snow, has been a particularly dry month - I don’t think we have recorded two or three millimetres since the beginning of the month.

“We are trying maintain the ground at good. There will probably still be a little bit of good to firm after we finish this first bout of watering.

“Our own reservoir is full - we had a nice spell of rain after the International meeting in December which enabled us to fill the reservoir so we do have plenty of water in stock.

“The water we collect and put in our reservoir is harvested from the site. What we are doing is catching rainwater and putting it on the course. It then goes into the drains and back into the reservoir - the water goes around in circles.”

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