MORE GOING NEWS
The going has changed on the Chase and Hurdle tracks of the Old Course at Cheltenham today, Ladies Day, Wednesday, March 15, the second of the four days of The Festival - Good to Soft, Good in places (from Good to Soft).
Cheltenham Clerk of the Course & Director of Racing Simon Claisse said this morning: "I cannot believe that yet again today the sun has come out.
"There has been no rain since Sunday. We have had a dry night and another heavy dew and the forecast is for dry and warm weather with sunny spells today.
"It was quite murky early on and I thought the forecast was for it to remain cloudy throughout the day with the odd sunny spell. Maybe, we are going to be fortunate again.
"I had a good walk round with the stick this morning, the ground may be marginally quicker. There is a little bit of good ground at the top of the hill when they turn for home as is always the case but I think it will be pretty similar to yesterday, maybe marginally quicker.
"This is what we describe as groundsman's ground because it is perfect from a horse's point of view, really safe ground, but the horses haven't really made a mess of it because the grass is so strong. I've been delighted with how little damage has been done with 112 runners on the first day.
"I had no temptation to water last night. Whether we will have to do something for tomorrow's tracks (on the New Course) which is a little bit quicker and currently Good, Good to Soft in places, that is a decision we take later today, depending on what happens and how much it dries out. It's looking as if the rainfall may come on Friday afternoon so we could be lucky and have four dry days."
The Festival also stages the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase (4.10pm) today, for which the ground has changed to Good, Good to Soft in places (from Good to Soft, Good in places).
Claisse commented: "The Cross Country Course is always a little bit quicker as we are not able to water it as much as both the Old and the New Courses. Also, that ground has only been managed as a racecourse since 1995, 22 years, whereas on the New Course has been raced on for 25 years and the Old Course for nearly 100 years.
"A lot of work goes into maintaining the Cross Country Course fences but we are always rewarded with a wonderful race."
Reflecting on the first day of The Festival, Claisse added: "We had a wonderful day yesterday with J P McManus having his 50th winner at The Festival and Nicky Henderson winning his sixth Champion Hurdle and sixth Arkle."
TWISTON-DAVIES FRACTURES VERTEBRAE
Jockey Willy Twiston-Davies fractured two vertebrae in a fall from 6/1 favourite Foxtail Hill in the final race of the first day of The Festival 2017 yesterday.
Foxtail Hill, trained by Willy's father Nigel Twiston-Davies, fell at the eighth fence in the Close Brothers Novices' Handicap Chase. The jockey walked to the ambulance, but subsequent checks at Gloucester Royal Hospital revealed that he had fractured his T8 and T9 vertebrae.
Sam Twiston-Davies, Willy's older brother, tweeted on Tuesday night: "Just left @willy_twiston in hospital, he's in good spirits but fracture to his T8&9 and some cracked ribs!"
On Wednesday morning, Willy tweeted: "In hospital with broken T8, T9 and a few broken ribs. Will know more tomorrow."
Twiston-Davies' mother Cathy told ITV Racing's Alice Plunkett this morning that Willy had full movement.
After an initial start in Jump racing, Willy Twiston-Davies, 22, made his name as a Flat jockey and rode Primitivo to win the King George V Stakes to victory at Royal Ascot in 2016. This winter he has returned to jumping and has ridden four winners.
The ride on Foxtail Hill was his first at this year's Festival. In 2011, as a 16-year-old, Willy was unseated from Baby Run at the final fence when in the lead in the St James's Place Foxhunters, but made amends at Aintree by winning the Fox Hunters' over the Grand National fences a few weeks later.
EDWULF ON WAY TO FULL RECOVERY
The Joseph O'Brien-trained Edwulf, who was pulled up when in third place after the final fence in the J P McNamara National Hunt Chase on Tuesday, March 15, is reported to be in good shape this morning.
The eight-year-old, who was ridden by Derek O'Connor, was immediately attended by vets on the course, and then taken to the racecourse stables. From there he was transported to the Three Counties Equine Hospital near Upton-on-Severn.
Twenty-three-year-old O'Brien told ITV Racing this morning: "He's in Three Counties Equine Hospital and [vet] Liam Kearns and everyone there has done a great job, and they did a great job with him yesterday on the track. It's very positive this morning.
"They're not altogether sure [what happened]. They thought it may have been something to do with his heart, but his heart came back normal relatively quickly and then he got up.
"It's very good news this morning."
Edwulf was Joseph O'Brien's first official runner at the Cheltenham Festival. His father Aidan was listed as the trainer of the 2016 JCB Triumph Hurdle winner Ivanovich Gorbatov, but Joseph prepared the horse for the race before his training licence came through.
As a jockey on the Flat, Joseph scored multiple Group One wins for his father, including two Investec Derbys aboard Camelot (2012) and Australia (2014). He retired from race-riding in 2016 to take out a licence as a trainer.