Newbury clerk of the course Richard Osgood is anticipating soft ground at worst for Saturday's meeting

Last Updated: 04/02/13 3:58pm

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Newbury: The covers are on

Newbury: The covers are on

Sky Bet

Newbury clerk of the course Richard Osgood is anticipating soft ground at worst for Saturday's high-profile meeting.

The ultra-competitive Betfair Hurdle is the betting highlight of a card that also features a Cheltenham Gold Cup trial in the Denman Chase and a Champion Chase rehearsal in the event registered as the Game Spirit Chase.

Nicky Henderson is due to unleash his Arkle favourite Simonsig in the latter event but has ruled Long Run out of the Denman due to ground concerns. However, Osgood is expecting conditions to improve ahead of the meeting.

"The ground at the moment is soft, heavy in places, but we have the strong winds so obviously we are drying," he said.

"I want to see what Tuesday brings, but I would think we'd probably be looking at soft ground for the weekend, if not slightly better. We are forecast some wintry showers on Tuesday, which is looking like sleet for us as I understand it.

"The weather is then forecast to be dry and cold up to the weekend and I have already got the take-offs and landings covered, just in case.

"Our lowest temperature is forecast to be minus 1C at the moment and that should not present too much of a problem if the forecast is right. We will obviously be monitoring the weather and will issue further updates during the week."

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