The Cheltenham Festival is finally here and the Met Office has forecast the weather at the racecourse for the week.
For today’s star-studded show of racing – with the Champion Hurdle today’s feature race – the weather forecast is overcast, but will change to light rain by noon.
From Wednesday, the weather forecast is partly cloudy, with a high of 11C and a low of 4C.
Cheltenham clerk of the course, Simon Claisse, gave ITV Racing’s Alice Plunkett an update on the conditions at the track on The Opening Show this morning.
He said: “We couldn’t get on the course until the middle of February because it was still that wet, but the weather has been kind to us.
“We had a dry fortnight and we had a bit of rain over the weekend – so we’re really pleased with the conditions.
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“I said earlier that it wouldn’t take a huge amount of rain to change the conditions from good to soft back to soft and that’s exactly what has happened.
“The forecast today, though, after a little few spots of rain in the air at the moment, is a dry and sunny afternoon with temperatures rising up 12 or 13 degrees.”
The leading contenders for the opening race – the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – have generally tackled conditions between soft and heavy this season. Metier, the second favourite, did clock a time of 3m 48.77s on soft ground in a 1m7½f Class 2 race at Ascot last November.
What’s the latest weather forecast for Cheltenham?
After the unexpected rainfall from Sunday into Monday, the outlook is relatively favourable throughout the week with dry conditions and sunny intervals predicted. A high of 14C is forecast for Tuesday.
What’s happening on day one of the festival?
Cheltenham Festival 2021 kicks off with the most promising hurdlers in the game tackling the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle before Nicky Henderson’s superstar Shishkin tackles the Arkle Chase.
The first handicap of the festival follows with the Ultima before the day’s feature race – the Champion Hurdle. Can last year’s winner Epatante see off the threat from market favourite Honeysuckle?
The Mares and Juveniles follow in hurdling action before the National Hunt Chase rounds off the action without amateur jockeys, who are banned from competing due to coronavirus restrictions.
13:20 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y
13.55 – Arkle Chase (Grade 1) 1m 7f 199y
14.30 – Ultima Handicap (Grade 3) 3m 1f
15.05 – Champion Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 87y
15.40 – Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle (Grade 1) 2m 3f 200y
16.15 – Close Brothers Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) 2m 87y
16.50 – National Hunt Chase (Grade 2) 3m 5f 201y