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The Cheltenham Festival is one of the first big outdoor events of the spring running from the 13th to 16th March 2018. Gold cup day is Friday 16th March. It takes place at Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.
At this time of the year the weather can be very mixed, as the history of the festival shows. A few problems caused by the weather:
1) In 1978 the Gold Cup was abandoned due to snow and had to be run in April
2) 2008 saw the second day abandoned due to high winds
3) In 2012 a period of exceptionally dry weather meant the ground was unusually firm
This year the late February freeze has led to additional concerns about the role the impact the weather may have on this year's festival.
By Paul Kehrer (Flickr: Win, Place, Show) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Medium range computer models generally show unsettled weather continuing in the run up to the Cheltenham Festival. In the north of the UK it probably stays quite cold but in the south temperatures should be closer to the average at times. Significant rainfall means the ground at the racecourse could be wetter than normal.
During the festival period itself a continuation of the unsettled theme is considered likely. Daytime temperatures are likely to be between 10C (50F) and 14C (57F).
The GEFS06z postage stamp below shows forecast precipitation for the afternoon of Friday 16th March. Each stamp represents the forecast from one individual GEFS computer model run. At this stage the important thing to note is that a lot of stamps are showing showers or longer spells of rain in much of the UK.
Confidence on the unsettled period of weather continuing throughout the Cheltenham Festival is high. Temperatures probably won't be far from the mid March average but the risk of showers or longer periods of rain remains high. It could also be windy at times.
The forecasts are updated every 6 hours. Until about 5 days before the start of the event the ensemble (probability) forecast will provide a more consistent guide than the deterministic one which is likely to change frequently.
Most horse racing fans will be familiar with playing the odds so using the ensemble (or probability as they're called on TWO) forecasts shouldn't be too difficult.
The link below takes you to the Birmingham ensemble forecast which is close enough to Cheltenham. Good luck!
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