Cheltenham’s first afternoon of its three-day November meeting has been abandoned due to a waterlogged track – and Saturday’s high-profile card must pass a 3pm inspection on Friday.

Rain through Wednesday evening and well into Thursday forced officials to call an inspection for Friday, and when the elements failed to relent there was no option but to admit defeat for the opening-day card.

A statement from the track read: “After 37mm rainfall in the past 18 hours, very sadly we have had to abandon racing at Cheltenham on Friday November 15, as the course is flooded in areas as well as waterlogged in places.

“Ahead of racing on Saturday there will be a further inspection on Friday afternoon at 3pm. Further information will be issued accordingly.

“The weather outlook for the next few days is showers on Friday with dry days currently forecast for Saturday and Sunday.”

Two races scheduled for Friday have been saved. The Grade Two Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle is now scheduled to take place as the first race on Saturday, while the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase will be run on Sunday.

Clerk of the course Simon Claisse said: “Over the past 18 hours we have had nearly 37mm of rainfall and the course is flooded in areas. As such, we have had to regrettably abandon racing on Friday.