Waterlogging claims Cheltenham card

Cheltenham’s prestigious Trials Day meeting on Saturday has been abandoned due to waterlogging.

Officials had made people aware the meeting was in the balance due to midweek rainfall which exceeded expectations and an inspection had been called for 2pm on Friday.

An early update on Friday suggested it was touch-and-go following another wet night in the Cotswolds.

However, with standing water in places, some fences already set to be omitted and not enough space to redirect the runners around the waterlogged patches, the meeting has been called off.

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Clerk of the course Simon Claisse said: “We were always saying that we had to hope we wouldn’t get what was forecast and we’ve had what was forecast, unfortunately.

“We’re waterlogged in too many places to find a way round and there is no prospect of any improvement in the next 24 hours.”

The British Horseracing Authority later confirmed the possibility of races such as the Cotswold Chase and Cleeve Hurdle being rescheduled is under consideration, but a final decision will not be made until after the weekend.

The ruling body posted on Twitter: “We are currently considering options for restaging some of the races from the abandoned Cheltenham Festival Trials Day card.

“However, as the current picture is so changeable as regards to the continued very weather weather and which courses are going to be raceable in the coming days, it is not possible to make any definitive announcements at this stage.

“We will provide a further update after the weekend when the situation with the weather and the conditions of racecourses will be more clear.”

If there is any improvement in conditions over the next 48 hours, it will come too late to save Uttoxeter’s fixture on Sunday.

A total of 30 millimetres of rain has fallen in the past 48 hours at the venue, leaving the course waterlogged and officials with no option but to cancel following an 8am inspection on Friday.

Fairyhouse’s Saturday card is subject to a 7.30am inspection after it passed a Friday afternoon check, while Sunday’s meeting at Catterick must pass a precautionary inspection at 8am on raceday morning due to the threat of frost.

Hereford will not be racing on Monday, after the waterlogged course failed a Friday afternoon inspection.

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