Officials at Cheltenham have ended the uncertainty surrounding the National Hunt Festival by announcing that the rescheduled three-day meeting will start on Tuesday, April 17.

It will coincide with the prestigious Craven meeting at Newmarket, featuring the first Classic trials of the season, which is set for the same three days.

Cheltenham's two day-meeting due to be staged on April 18-19 has been scrapped.

The Festival was postponed last Wednesday when it was discovered the course could not meet British Horseracing Board guidelines governing racing during the current foot and mouth crisis.

Cheltenham managing director Edward Gillespie said: "We are convinced that we can safely conduct a successful race meeting and that, so long as racing continues and the racecourse remains outside an infected area, then we should make every effort to hold the meeting."