• Cheltenham festival

Cheltenham given the green light

ESPN staff
March 12, 2013
Frost covers have been used as a precautionary measure © PA Photos

The first day of the Cheltenham Festival will go ahead after passing an inspection on Tuesday morning.

Despite frost covers being used over the weekend, overnight temperatures of -12 plus brief snow threatened delays to the start of the four-day festival.

However, a 10.30am inspection produced the green light for the first day's racing, although the schedule has been put back by 35 minutes.

Clerk of the course Simon Claisse had earlier stated his belief that, if the weather proceeded as expected, the festival would begin on time.

"At 10am it's due to be 1C, and it is forecast to be 3C by midday," Claisse said. "We are frozen in places but it seems to be small areas. We can't really tell the extent of the frozen areas until we start to take the covers up.

"If the weather does what we expect it to and the temperature gets up to 3C by 12 noon, we should be kicking off as planned at 1.30pm.

"The sun is out now and if we get an hour or two of sunshine on it, it should start to move."

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