Cheltenham Festival 2023: Wintery conditions a concern for … – Cotswold Journal

THE Cheltenham Festival returns next week and the weather conditions are causing some concerns. 
A cold snap looks set to sweep into the UK over the next few days and groundstaff are monitoring conditions closely at Prestbury Park. With just over a week to go to the four-day meeting, a mix of cold weather and rain is expected in the build-up to the National Hunt extravaganza.
Spells of rain on Friday and Sunday are scheduled to follow some colder temperatures in the earlier stages of this week, with up to six millimeters of rainfall on both days being the main concern for clerk of the course Jon Pullin. 
Pullin said the dry, cold spell, which has seen just 10 millimetres of rain fall since the Trials day meeting at the end of January, has meant getting the ground ready for the four-day spectacular has been “a real challenge”.
Officials have laid down fleece on the New course to encourage grass growth and have been irrigating the track with temperatures set to drop over the next few days.
Pullin said: “It’s been a tricky period. It has been a real challenge. We haven’t had any significant rain since January 15. We have had 10mm since the 15th. In the corresponding period last year we’d had 58mm.
“We commenced watering the week beginning February 13.
“We wanted to start irrigating for two reasons, firstly to help with grass growth and recovery and to get ahead of the game a little bit as far as going is concerned in case we came into a cold snap, which now looks as though it will materialise.
“We are heading into a cold spell over the next 24 to 48 hours. Indications are for wintry showers early next week (just gone) and cold temperatures overnight. But most forecasts suggest we should be out of the cold spell by next weekend and hopefully warming up.”
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