Jon Pullin has taken the role from Simon Claisse, who retired last November; he has suggested that Soft will be in the going description, with a fairly dry fortnight expected ahead of the four-day Festival
Tuesday 1 March 2022 16:08, UK
Jon Pullin believes "a combination of soft or good to soft" ground would provide the perfect start to his first Festival meeting as Cheltenham's clerk of the course.
Simon Claisse has clerked the last 20 Festivals but after announcing his intention to leave Cheltenham last year, he stepped down at the conclusion of the November meeting.
Pullin will now take charge of his first Festival and he is eager for the tapes to go up.
He said: "Simon has done a fantastic job over a number of years but I'm enjoying the challenge and very much looking forward to a fortnight's time.
"It would be soft, good to soft in places [at the moment]. We had eight millimetres overnight which was welcome and we could get another 5-6mm tonight and then we could get some more showers over the next day or two which should bring 1-2mm.
"After that, it's due to be dry, certainly over the weekend and into the early part of next week. It could get a little bit colder as well, so we will keep an eye on the forecast and see where we go from here.
"Anything like a combination of soft or good to soft would be a great start. There's nothing in the forecast that's highlighting anything we should be too concerned about at this stage."
Pullin is aware of the attention focused on the Festival and is relishing the challenge of producing a perfect racing surface.
He added: "The eyes of the racing industry and wider sport is very much on the Festival and every decision we're making now and in the next few days in the build-up will have an impact on that, so it's a challenge, but I'm very much looking forward to it.
"We had a very dry December and January but now we've had over two inches of rain in February which has made a huge difference.
"One thing I have learnt about this track is how quickly it dries, but there is a bit of rain around for the next few days which will hopefully see us through to the end of the week.
"We will review where we are at that point, get some updated forecasts and if necessary we will water."