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Cheltenham festival 2019

Weather prospects


Weather a big player

The Cheltenham Festival is one of the first big outdoor events of the spring. This year it runs from the 12th to 15th March 2019. Gold cup day is Friday 15th March. It takes place at Cheltenham Racecourse in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

The weather during the middle part of March 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 events abandoned due to high winds

3) In 2012 a period of exceptionally dry weather meant the ground was unusually firm

This year the festival will be following a mild winter. February was particularly mild and new maximum temperature records were set late in the month.

Horse racing

By Paul Kehrer (Flickr: Win, Place, Show) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

2019 weather outlook

Medium range computer models generally show unsettled weather in the run-up to the Cheltenham Festival. In the north of the UK it could be quite chilly but temperatures in the south should be close to the average. Significant rainfall is likely.

During the festival period quite unsettled weather is expected to continue. Computer models are suggesting maximum daytime temperatures of between 8C (42F) and 13C (55F).

The GEFS06z postage stamp below shows forecast precipitation for the afternoon of Friday 15th March. Each stamp represents the forecast from one individual GEFS computer model run. A lot of stamps are showing showers or longer spells of rain in much of the UK. However, a few are showing dry conditions due to high pressure building from the southwest.

GEFS06 850hPa rainfall postage stamp forecast chart

Latest weather forecasts

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.

3 day Cheltenham racecourse weather

16 day Cheltenham racecourse weather

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!

16 day Birmingham probability

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