With the 2011 Cheltenham Festival now only four days away the Clerk of the Course Simon Claisse has defended his decision to begin watering the course . Only on Monday this week Claisse had dismissed the idea of watering but rapidly drying conditions this week have forced his hand and watering of the Old Course began yesterday with a decision to be made over the weekend about whether to start watering the New Course on which the Cheltenham Gold cup is ran .
The Old Course is used for the opening two days of the Cheltenham Festival and the New Course over the last two days.
Claisse said yesterday that “We,ve always said we won’t take a risk by letting the ground get too fast..it’s better than putting horses at risk on quicker ground .” Claisse confirmed that the new course will be “good all round by Saturday” from the current good,good to soft in places.
Dual Cheltenham Gold cup winner Kauto Star prefers good ground and Clifford Baker Head Groom at Paul Nicholl’s stable said earlier this week that on good ground he would rate Kauto Star’s chances ahead of those of stablemate Denman who is also a previous winner of the Cheltenham Gold Cup .
The forecast is for a further spell of dry weather for the Cheltenham area over the next four days with the possibility of light rain on each of the first three days of the Festival meeting . The Cheltenham Gold Cup is held on the last day of the meeting and the racecourse have announced that both the Best Mate and Tattersalls Enclosures are now sold out for Gold Cup day but some Enclosure tickets still remain .