Cheltenham may be forced to turn on the water before the start of the National Hunt Festival, director of racing Simon Claisse has revealed.
Despite spells of heavy rain and snow, which resulted in numerous abandonments in Britain, the ground at Cheltenham is currently good to soft and there is every chance Claisse could decide to water before the start of the Festival on March 12.
"We're far better placed than this time last year but the going will be good to soft by the end of this week and I'm keeping a close eye on it.
"My forecasters are telling me that it will stay dry all through the next week. The first chance of significant rain will come in the week before the Festival. If that should change, and the rain is no longer expected, I would have to consider watering.
"I know that might surprise some people but I honestly cannot rule it out."
The first two days of the Festival will be run on the Old Course with the New Course used for the final two days.