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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Cheltenham confident of go-aheadHeadlines
Cheltenham is still under covers

Cheltenham officials remain "very, very confident" Festival Trials Day will not have to be held over until Sunday.

Saturday's hugely important jumps fixture could be restaged 24 hours later if the track is found unraceable at a 7am inspection on raceday morning, but with the frost covers having been lifted, allied to a favourable overnight forecast, hopes are high the meeting will defeat the elements.

"All the frost covers are up, although we've left some sheets down on the take-off and landing areas in case it gets cold. All the public areas are cleared, which is also good news," said Cheltenham communications director Andy Clifton.

"It's very cold because it's very windy but, as things stand, we remain very, very confident. If the forecast is right, which they have largely been this week, I think we might be able to give the meeting the go-ahead before 7am."

Lingfield's meeting on the all-weather is also subject to a 7am inspection due to the threat of snow. As was the case earlier in the week, groundstaff will be working the track overnight to try to prevent the snow from settling on the track.

Officials at Leopardstown are confident this weekend's top-class two-day fixture will go ahead despite calling an 8am precautionary inspection ahead of Saturday's card.

Although the Foxrock venue was hit by further rain on Friday afternoon, conditions remain raceable and racing and operations manager Nessa Joyce is hopeful day one of the meeting will beat the weather.

Joyce, speaking at 4pm, said: "It's a precautionary inspection as we are perfectly raceable at the moment and at this stage, I'm not too worried. We had a sharp blast of rain about an hour ago and we're really inspecting because there is more rain forecast and it's not clear how much we're going to get."

Lingfield's National Hunt meeting on Tuesday will now be run as a 'jumpers' bumpers' meeting instead. The turf course is currently waterlogged, with further rain forecast.

Leicester has made provisions to run its meeting on Wednesday as an all-chase card. Four extra races over fences have been provisionally programmed and a final decision will be taken by 3pm on Monday.

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