Punters brave windy conditions on Ladies Day at the Cheltenham Festival as second day of racing goes ahead following early inspection
- Second day of the Cheltenham Festival will go ahead as planned despite fears over high winds caused by Storm Gareth
- Early morning inspection and improved forecast led to green light for day two
- There were fears temporary stands and hospitality tents could cause a risk
- It raised the prospect of a first-ever ‘People’s Saturday’ at the Festival
- CLICK HERE for Robin Goodfellow’s tips for the second day at Cheltenham
The second day of the Cheltenham Festival will go ahead after the forecast for gale-force winds of Storm Gareth hitting the track was moderated.
Officials had planned an 8am inspection with the prospect of the Festival being extended into Saturday if the second day had been lost.
But the green light was given for the meeting to go ahead just after 6am.
Tennis star Andy Murray arrives at Cheltenham as he continues his recovery from a hip injury
Model Vogue Williams arrives at Cheltenham for Ladies Day following an early inspection
Racegoers take a selfie near the track after the second day of racing was given the go-ahead
Women show off their elaborate hats after arriving for Ladies Day at the Cheltenham Festival
Punters arrive at Cheltenham Racecourse on Wednesday morning for the second day of action
A statement released by Cheltenham Racecourse on Twitter read: ‘Racing at Cheltenham today will go ahead following a precautionary inspection.
‘The strength of the winds has now moderated on the forecast allowing Simon Claisse, Clerk of the Course, to give the green light early in order to provide certainty to racegoers and participants before many journeys begin.
‘We will continue to monitor the weather forecast moving forward.’
Claisse said: ‘We’re delighted that the weather conditions have changed from the initial forecasts and the prospect of higher wind speeds and gusts have receded.
‘We’re looking forward to a fantastic day’s racing on the Old Course with the feature race the £400,000 Grand 1 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.’
The Duchess of Cornwall was among the famous faces pictured arriving on Wednesday
Punters arrive for Ladies Day, with the big race the Queen Mother Champion Chase at 3.30pm
The wind plays havoc with one racegoers’ hair as thousands of people arrive for day two
One hopeful punter checks out the form as the build-up to the first race of the day continues
13:30 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle Race 2m 5f
14:10 – RSA Insurance Novices’ Steeple Chase 3m 80y
14:50 – Coral Cup Hurdle (handicap hurdle) 2m 5f
15:30 – Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase 1m 7f 99y
16:10 – Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase 3m 6f 37y
16:50 – Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Race 2m 87y
17:30 – Weatherbys Champion Bumper 2m 87y
The chance of a cancellation due to the weather today raised the prospect of a ‘People’s Saturday’ at the Festival for the first time.
With gusts forecast to exceed 45mph as the storm blew in, there were fears that temporary grandstands and hospitality tents could be at risk and place horses and jockeys in danger.
Cheltenham bosses had put contingency measures in place to reschedule races to Saturday and refund all tickets that had been purchased for Wednesday.
No day of racing at the Festival has been cancelled since 2008, when high winds forced day two to be abandoned.
Wednesday’s races were split between Thursday and Friday’s cards 11 years ago, meaning 10 races were packed into one day, nine the other.