What Effect Will The Dry Winter Have On The Cheltenham Festival?

English weather is the most surprising and one of the most unpredictable concepts in the world and during the 2018/19 National Hunt season, through the autumn and the winter there has been a severe lack of rain.

With Cheltenham just around the corner punters are losing there minds over what the ground conditions are going to be on both the new and old course for this years festival as there has been only slightly more than half of the amount compared to the 2018 meeting.

Last year's going was predominantly soft and the course was full of cut in which many horses that are returning to Prestbury Park this year throughly enjoyed.

This is where it becomes a nightmare for the punter as the ground if there is no change before now and the first race on Tuesday 12th March, it looks as if the best case scenario for the ground will be good to soft.

With many of the big guns in the big races like Presenting Percy in the Gold Cup or Buveur D'Air in the Champion Hurdle, all there strong form lines are on ground with cut in and even though they might be the best horses in the race, how will the good ground effect there abilities.

This is why the 2019 Cheltenham Festival looks to be the trickiest from a racegoers point of view with the weather and ground playing a huge part into people being unable to decide who to actually back for the big races.

This has also played into the hands of the bookmakers and has been proven in the current betting markets with across all 28 races at the four day meeting there is only one odds on favourite, compared to last year where there was six starting price odds on favourites.


This year's stand alone banker of the week for many is Altior who is 4/11 to retain his Queen Mother Champion Chase and if having a clear round of jumping he will be sure to extend his unbeaten run over obstacles to 18.

He is very versatile on all types of ground meaning that he can be favourite even if the ground isn't to what he naturally wants, he is just that good he should win on anything.

Last year horses that had been primed for the festival had ran consistently on soft or ground with cut in it meaning the punters knew what to expect, hence the amount of odds on favourites.

But this year, all different horses are beating each other due to the ground not being to the liking of the best horses and this is why the 2019 Cheltenham festival could just be a minefield for punters and overall a bookmakers paradise.

Cheltenham clerk of the course Simon Claisse is hoping a kind forecast predicting around 30mm of rain over the next week or so materialises.

(Credit Racing Post) He said: "We actually put a couple of millimetres of water on all tracks last week to help the fertiliser we put on at this time of year get into the ground. I would have to say that at present the conditions at the course are on the quick side of good.

"However, we have a forecast of around 30mm of rain at the track from this Friday until the following weekend and that would bring us back to good to soft. We have to hold our nerve and we will wait and see how all that pans out before considering any further watering ahead of the meeting.

"Last year between the middle of November and the end of February we had 223mm of rainfall but this time around we have had 128mm, which is only just over half that amount. It’s proving a rather obvious challenge when you take into account those figures."

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