Cheltenham has lost only the second day’s racing to the wet in 20 years after Friday’s Countryside Day, the start of the three-day November meeting, was abandoned before a planned inspection on Thursday afternoon because of waterlogging.
Two of the day’s principal races, the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle and the Glenfarclas Cross Country, have been switched to Saturday and Sunday respectively but, while clerk of the course Simon Claisse is optimistic in light of the forecast, Saturday’s meeting will have to pass an inspection at 3pm on Friday.
“I can only remember losing one day because of the wet and, obviously, there have been odd days of frost and wind, but I haven’t seen water on the course like this since the great floods of 2007, and that was during the summer when we weren’t racing,” Claisse said.
“We’ve had 38mm since last night, which I’m told is 41,000 gallons per furlong or, mixing imperial with metric, the same as 50 pints a square metre. It is forecast to peter out at dusk. I can only thank our sponsors, the British Horseracing Authority, and ITV for getting together so quickly to rearrange the Ballymore and Glenfarclas races.”
In Ireland, where Douvan made a comfortable winning return in the Clonmel Oil Chase after being off the course for 569 days, Horse Racing Ireland announced that all registrations of horses which run under the Supreme Horse Racing Club would be voided.
It follows the failure of the club’s trustees to answer the authority’s requests for information about its membership and, essentially, who has shares in which horses.
Among the Supreme horses barred from running at the moment are the Willie Mullins-trained trio Kemboy, the highest-rated chaser in Ireland, Cadmium, the Topham winner with Grand National aspirations, and Aramon, one of last year’s leading novice hurdlers.
However, there is a pathway back, with Jason Morris, HRI’s director of racing, saying the authority was working with a solicitor acting on behalf of some members and that it was open to reregistration of the horses “under accepted ownership structures”.
It seems unlikely, however, that will be an overnight fix.