Cheltenham covers go down to ensure super Saturday card survives

The final covers are likely to be removed around an hour before the first race on Saturday at Cheltenham, which on Friday evening was given an insurance blanket.

Following an afternoon when racing took place on ground described as soft, good to soft in places, and under a beautifully clear sky, clerk of the course Simon Claisse decided to take action against an imminent drop in temperature.

"We're covering the entire course as a precaution," said Claisse. "By putting the covers down we have certainty. Without the covers there would be some doubt."

Claisse added: "We're expected to drop down to as low as -3C but it should remain dry. The outlook for Saturday is that it will be dry but cold at 3C to 4C. There will be no rail movements and I would expect the ground to ride similar to today."

Hereford's Saturday fixture hinges on an 8am inspection, while a noon inspection on Saturday will determine the prospects for Carlisle's Sunday card.