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Leading trainers Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls have called on officials to hold off watering the Cheltenham track before the famous jumps festival.

The ground was reported to be good to soft on Saturday, with the cross country course soft in places and a predominantly dry forecast ahead of racing on Tuesday.

Both Henderson and Nicholls believe the Cheltenham ground staff should hold off on watering until at least the end of the first day when the jockeys have had chance to assess how the track is riding.

“I do sincerely hope they don’t water. I think it will be a tragedy if they do,” Henderson said.

“Let nature take its course and if nature says it’s good ground, let them run on good ground and let the good ground horses have their day.

“I don’t think you can even think of watering until the boys have told them after day one. It’s the most dangerous thing you can do.”

Nicholls echoed Henderson’s sentiments and said it was unlikely the ground would be too hard after a very wet winter.

“I spoke to Simon (Claisse) at length about it last night and his concern is that it might dry out after the first two days,” he said.

“If it is just a little bit on the quicker side, it is bound to be safe ground and I told him that if they do have to water because it does get that quick, then I’d be very, very surprised.”

 
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