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Contingency plan for the Festival Trials

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: January 23, 2013

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FESTIVAL Trials Day could be staged at Cheltenham Racecourse on Sunday should adverse weather conditions mean it cannot go ahead as planned on Saturday.

Prestbury Park bosses have reached agreement with the racing governing body the British Horseracing Authority to run the meeting 24 hours later, weather permitting.

The announcement will be a major boost to trainers fearing they might lose their last opportunity to run their horses at Cheltenham before the Festival on March 12-15.

They are continuing to liaise with Channel 4 as to the possibility of Festival Trials Day being broadcast on the channel on Sunday, should the eight-race card be moved to that date.

The card is under threat from snow and freezing temperatures.

Before the announcement about moving the card to Sunday, Andy Clifton, the communications manager at Prestbury Park, provided an insight into the work behind done to save the meeting.

He had confirmed steps were being taken to try to ensure that even if he card did fall victim to the weather, the whole meeting or at least some of the races might not be lost.

"There are a number of options we're looking at, which range from possibly running the meeting on a different date to maybe moving some of the races to other racecourses.

"Our intention would be, if we can and if we have to, to try and find a way to hold those races, or as many as we can, at Cheltenham."

The chances of racing going ahead on Saturday as planned were expected to become clearer today after racecourse bosses had an opportunity to assess the impact of snow forecast to fall last night.

Since last week the course has been protected from snow and freezing temperatures by covers, introduced after the Festival Trials Day in 2006 fell victim to snow and frost.

As a result of the hard work of the groundstaff in removing snow lying on the frost covers, there was increased hope last night the meeting could go ahead on Saturday.

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