Cheltenham Friday

THE new season at Cheltenham started on good ground despite heavy rainfall on Thursday evening, that precipitation perhaps a blessing given the race times were notably quicker than for the same day 12 months ago when the ground was also called good by outgoing clerk of the course Simon Claisse. Claisse will be in situ for the prestigious November meeting, but will step aside in December, allowing Jon Pullin to settle into the role before the Cheltenham Festival in March.