Cheltenham clerk of the course Jon Pullin expects soft ground on day one

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While strong winds on Monday were helping the course to dry slightly, squally showers are forecast into Monday evening and are expected the keep the going soft on the Old course, which is used on Tuesday and Wednesday. It is expected to dip below freezing on Tuesday evening while later in the week double-figure temperatures are anticipated, along with further bands of rain, so the advice to racegoers is be prepared for a bit of everything. "It (the ground) has taken the rain we've had recently really well. We had four millimetres of rain on the Old course, so we're soft ground for Tuesday and Wednesday at the moment," said Pullin. "We're soft, good to soft in places on the New course so we're in good shape.

"It will dry back a little bit today but we do have some showers moving in later on, hopefully nothing too significant volume-wise, but that may well negate any improvement that we get during the day. "There's the chance of showers early tomorrow morning and they could be sleety but the rest of the day should be mainly dry. "The temperature drops sharply overnight, possibly as low as minus 2C, but by 7/8am they are expected to be positive figures and there's a decent soil temperature due to the last two days being in double digits and it will only be a one-night frost. Against that is the fact we'll have raced on Tuesday and opened it up a little bit, but we are not too concerned. "A band of rain is due to blow in on Wednesday and that will stay around for Thursday as well, so we could see 5-10mm over Wednesday and Thursday. "We had to water in February, just from a grass health point of view. We wouldn't be too far away from where we are without it, we'd have aimed for good to soft and we'll probably start on soft, so we're happy with what we've done."

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