CHELTENHAM racecourse is sitting under a layer of snow just three days before the Festival begins – as bosses changed the official going to soft after an overnight downpour.
Punters are bracing for a wet and wild Festival – with at least some rain forecast on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, according to the Met Office.
The famous roar that accompanies the opening race – which has been remixed as part of this toe-tapping dance track – could be set against a backdrop of light showers.
There was 12mm of rain and sleet from yesterday into today and photos posted on social media showed Cheltenham looking white on Friday morning.
The BBC say there is a 20 per cent chance of rain between 1-2pm on Tuesday, with the curtain-raising Supreme Novices’ Hurdle the first off at 1.30pm.
The Met reckon a high of around 8C will greet the 68,500 punters just in time for the Champion Hurdle at 3.30pm – while gusts of up to 35mph are forecast.
The big race on day one will see superstar Constitution Hill put his record on the line for trainer Nicky Henderson.
Bookies did go as short as evens for snow to hit the Festival amid yet another freezing cold snap.
Most read in Horse Racing
HOW TO GET FREE BETS ON THE CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL
But the warmer forecast should melt the snow that has fallen by the time racing stars.
Those slightly warmer temperatures will still feel pretty chilly though, with a high of 11C forecast on Friday as warm as it gets.
Thursday and Friday – Gold Cup day – look like they could be hit with frequent showers.
There is roughly a 50 per cent chance of rain before racing on every day of the Festival bar Tuesday.
Last year’s Cheltenham saw a downpour on Wednesday and the final race on that day, the Champion Bumper, being run in a bog.
Despite the bleak outlook, William Hill reckon the official going description on Tuesday will be good to soft.
The odds of that are 4-5, with soft 11-10 and heavy 8-1.
William Hill spokesperson, Lee Phelps, said: “The poor weather doesn’t show any signs of relenting and there now looks to be a serious chance of the Supreme being run on soft ground next Tuesday.
“The price of soft ground for the opening race of the Cheltenham Festival is now priced at 11-10 having been a 7-4 chance yesterday, while we’re not ruling out it being heavy at 8-1 either.”
All the details on Cheltenham Festival 2023 from tickets to cost of a pint
Meanwhile, the economic impact of last year’s Festival was estimated to be £274million, according to the results of a special report undertaken by the University of Gloucestershire.
The figure is nearly three times the estimated total for the event in 2016, when Jump racing’s most prestigious four days secured approximately £100m for local businesses.
Ian Renton, The Jockey Club’s Regional Managing Director for the West Region, said: “We welcomed a record crowd of 280,627 over the four days of The Festival in 2022 and it is very satisfying to see that have such a tremendously beneficial effect on the wider economy in the Cheltenham area.
“Our links with the local community are strong and earlier this week we announced an enhanced version of the ‘Love Our Turf’ campaign at The Festival to put engagement with and the needs of our local residents and businesses at the heart of the event.
“I would like to thank everyone at the University of Gloucestershire who worked on this project – it has provided us with so many useful insights to help us plan for future Festivals.”
OFFERS OF THE DAY
Bet UK: Bet £20 and get £60 in free bets – CLAIM HERE
Sky Bet: Bet £10 on Racing and get £40 in free bets – CLAIM HERE
Tote: Bet £5 get £20 – CLAIM HERE
William Hill: 60/1 Facile Vega to win the Supreme Novices Hurdle – CLAIM HERE
Betfair: Bet £10 Get £30 – CLAIM HERE
Paddy Power: Bet £20 and get it back as Cash if it Loses – CLAIM HERE
Coral: Bet £5 Get £20 – CLAIM HERE
Bet UK: New customers opt in and stake £20+ on any sporting event at odds of 1.8 or greater before 17:30 17/03/23. Free bets non-withdrawable and 7 day expiry. Qualifying bet restrictions, exclusions and full T&Cs apply. 18+ begambleaware.org.
Sky Bet: New customers only. First single & e/w bet only. £10 minimum stake. Odds of 1/1 or greater. 4 x £10 horse racing bet token. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets for horse racing only. Free bets are non withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions and further t&cs apply. 18+. Begambleaware.Org. 18+ begambleaware.Org
Tote: New customers online only. Place your first bet on racing pools for a minimum of £/€5 and win or lose you will receive £/€20 Tote Credit. £/€20 Tote Credit rewarded as £/€10 redeemable against racing bets only and £/€10 redeemable against UK and Irish placepot bets only. Tote Credit cannot be withdrawn, exchanged, or substituted and expires after 7 days. Qualifying bet is the first racing pool bet added to the bet-slip. Ten to Follow, virtual and football bets do not qualify. Totewin will be the qualifying bet when a Totewin and a Toteplace bet are struck at the same time. UK & ROI customers only. 18+. Full T&Cs apply. BeGambleaware.org.Full T&Cs apply.
William Hill: 18+. Play Safe. When you sign-up via Mobile using promo code P40 and place a bet of £10/€10 or more we will give you 4x £10/€10 free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply. Virtual markets excluded. #ad begambleaware.org
Betfair – Place a min £10 bet on the Sportsbook on odds of min 1/2 (1.5), get £30 in Free Bets. Rewards valid for 30 days. SMS verification required. Only deposits via cards will qualify. T&Cs apply. Please Gamble Responsibly 18+ begambleaware.org
Paddy Power: New customers only. Place your FIRST bet on any market at odds of min 2.0 (EVS) and if it loses we will refund your stake in CASH. Max refund for this offer is £20. Only deposits made using cards will qualify for this promotion. T&Cs apply. 18+ Begambleaware.org
Coral: Eligible UK+IRE players. Paypal & some deposit & bet types excl. Min first £5 bet within 14 days of account reg at min odds 1/2 = 4x £5 free bets. Free bets valid for 7 days, stake not returned. No cash-out, restrictions & T&Cs apply. 18+ T&Cs Apply. Begambleaware.org
FREE BETS GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE
Commercial content notice: Taking one of the bookmaker offers featured in this article may result in a payment to The Sun. 18+. T&Cs apply. Begambleaware.org
Remember to gamble responsibly
A responsible gambler is someone who:
- Establishes time and monetary limits before playing
- Only gambles with money they can afford to lose
- Never chases their losses
- Doesn’t gamble if they’re upset, angry or depressed
- Gamcare – www.gamcare.org.uk
- Gamble Aware – www.begambleaware.org