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Last Updated: Monday, 12 March 2007, 17:59 GMT
Cheltenham Festival going
Another dry day in the Cotswolds saw the ground at Cheltenham continue to dry up and for the first time for months, the phrase "good to soft" appears in the going description.

The old course, which will be used on the opening two days, is now soft, good to soft in places and the new course for Thursday and Friday is now soft.

The cross-country course - used only on Tuesday - is soft, heavy in places.

Clerk of the course Simon Claisse said: "It is dry at the moment and from day to day the ground is drying - the going stick readings suggest the same.

"The little rain we were forecast on Monday did not materialise. You need a bit of luck in this game and we've had it."

The rest of the week is expected to be warm and without rain.


The last time it was officially 'soft' on the opening day, it was soft throughout the week.

That was 1995 when Master Oats won the Gold Cup, although it was on a Thursday, before the Festival was expanded to four days in 2005.

The last time it was 'heavy' on any day at the Festival was in 1989, on the final day - when Desert Orchid won the blue riband (it had been good to soft, soft in places on the Tuesday).

And the last time it was heavy on the first day was 1982. It remained heavy for all three days.

There has been a bit of 'soft' in the going on the opening day twice in the last five years:

2006: Tue - Good to soft; Wed Good, Gd/Soft in places; Thur Good, Gd/Soft places; Fri - Good

2002: Tue - Good to Soft, Good places; Wed - Good to Soft; Thur - Good, Good to Soft places

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