I have been wondering for a while if the ‘Park’ course at Cheltenham is ever used. I haven’t seen it used in the past few seasons I don’t think, does anyone know when the last meeting was around this course, which rather than take in the Old and New Courses was more a straightforward Oval?
Last used in 1996, and now consigned to history. Not sure what the thinking behind the Park course was SH, but as you say it was an oval loop which left the main course at the 2m 5f start. There were therefore no downhill fences to be jumped. Cheltenham only ever used it for their September (as it was then) and October meetings.
Thanks for that. I just got to thinking about the Park course when the issue of ground preservation at Cheltenham came to the fore. I am assuming part of the thinking behind it was to keep the ground not in use fresh for some of the bigger meetings.
Would be interesting what the Cheltenham management would have to say about resurrecting it for some of the courses less valuable cards, for example the October meeting you eluded to and the Hunter Chase card in April, to keep the ground in optiumum condition.
<br>The theory was that the ‘Park’ course would be easier to water consistently for the early season meetings, because it was more or less level.
There had been problems with firm patches at the top of the hill on the Old Course for those meetings during a series of very dry autumns in the 80’s. I can remember one year when it was so dry that the first day of the big November meeting included three two horse races.
The Park course worked OK, but it resulted in uneven ground for the November meeting – watered in the straight, but not down the far side – and in the end Cheltenham cut back on the number of days racing in September/October to the current two day meeting.
It’s demise also happened at about the same time the cross country course was being laid out, but I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.