The Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase, scheduled to take place on day one of The November Meeting (Friday 11th November) at Cheltenham, will be moved to Festival Trials Day (Saturday 28th January) due to the lack of rain this summer.
Jon Pullin, Cheltenham’s Clerk of the Course, explained: “The low rainfall throughout the summer and so far this autumn has handed us some significant challenges in terms of producing the best possible racing surface, both for The Showcase earlier this month and for The November Meeting which is now less than a fortnight away.
“The Old Course, which was used for The Showcase and will be in use for The November Meeting, has required considerable irrigation which has put a strain on both our time and our resources in order to achieve safe ground. The safety and welfare of our participants is of paramount importance and in light of this, we are not in a position to be able to irrigate the Cross Country course sufficiently enough for The November Meeting.
“The Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase will therefore not take place at The November Meeting and will be replaced by a veterans’ handicap chase over two and a half miles on The Old Course, which should hopefully attract a competitive field of older favourites.
“Cheltenham’s Cross Country Course is very unique and provides a great spectacle. We are keen that we can still offer three races over the course of the season, with two of these taking place before The Festival.
“We are therefore going to transfer the Glenfarclas Cross Country to Festival Trials Day in January – as previously happened in the 2016/17 season when we endured a similarly dry period.”