Good to soft conditions are expected for the start of the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday with further watering of the course put on hold.

The first two days are run on the Old Course where the going was described as good to soft, soft in places after four millimetres of rain fell overnight on Saturday.

However, the next measurable rain may not come until Wednesday, with Thursday and Friday expected to be dry and mild.

The New Course, where racing takes place on Thursday and Friday, is soft, good to soft in places. The last watering was on the New Course on Friday.

Cheltenham weather this week

A Met Office forecaster said: “Monday's sunny spells in the South will see temperatures a little above average.

“Tuesday will be dry in the South-East, with the North-West's rain spreading on Wednesday, but fine and sunny from Thursday for the UK.

“From then to late March has temperatures mild to very mild for most, with dry conditions and the sunniest weather in the South and East, although it may be chilly should winds tap into colder air across eastern Europe.”

It’s good news for punters heading to the Cheltenham Festival with sunny skies predicted and temperatures set to reach 13C.

How does weather affect horse racing?

Thurrock Gazette: Further watering at Cheltenham has been put on hold with conditions close to the target of good to soft for the start of the Festival. (PA)Further watering at Cheltenham has been put on hold with conditions close to the target of good to soft for the start of the Festival. (PA)

The weather can have a huge impact on horse racing as it affects the going conditions of a racecourse.

Rainfall will influence the racing conditions and certain conditions will favour different horses.

Too little rain and the turf becomes hard meaning there is less “give” underfoot and the course will be described as “Good” or “Good to Firm”.

When there is heavy rain the course will become “Good to Soft” or “Heavy” which is generally the norm during the winter months.

Cheltenham Clerk issues update on the course ahead of the festival

Clerk of the course Jon Pullin, overseeing his first Festival, said: “We are certainly not doing any watering at the moment and we’ll monitor conditions and see how much it dries before making any decision on any further watering.

“Given where we are currently and the forecast ahead, we will be somewhere around good to soft for the start of the meeting.

“We’ve got a mainly dry forecast during the day today. There is a risk of a light shower but nothing significant in volume. Then we are dry tomorrow, dry Tuesday with temperatures around 13-14 C.

“There is a little bit of rain on the radar for Wednesday at the moment, so we are keeping an eye on that. At the moment it looks like 2-3mm and then Thursday and Friday looking dry, bright and sunny and temperatures up to 14C. There doesn’t look as though there is much rain around.”