Clonmel officials have high hopes of beating big freeze
With tomorrow's re-arranged meeting at Fairyhouse postponed to next week and Punchestown covered in a blanket of snow, Clonmel on Sunday remains the main hope for the return of jump-racing on this side of the Irish Sea, writes Thomas Kelly.
According to track officials at Clonmel, the Tipperary venue is currently fit for racing, with the ground described as soft to heavy, and they are keeping their fingers crossed that the course avoids the worst of the bad weather.
As for Fairyhouse's big meeting, Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) are determined to save the showpiece fixture and have now moved it to next Wednesday. The acting manager of Fairyhouse, Peter Roe, said: "We have six inches of snow on the track and the forecast does not predict any immediate improvement."
Fresh entries for this meeting will close by noon tomorrow, with declarations to run to be made by 10.0 on Tuesday morning. However, the three Grade One races (The Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle, The Bar One Racing Drinmore Novices' Chase and The Bar One Racing Hatton's Grace Hurdle) will revert to the original entry stage and fresh forfeits or supplementary entries for these three races must be made by tomorrow.
Officials at Dundalk, currently covered in snow, are hoping that their scheduled all-weather card will go ahead on Friday and have also been given an another fixture on Saturday by HRI. The additional meeting will begin at 3.15 and entries must be made by 12.0 today.
Meanwhile, Joseph O'Brien's appeal against a two-day suspension for using his whip with excessive frequency aboard Mr Pianist at Dundalk a fortnight ago will be heard by the Turf Club this afternoon.
O'Brien is involved in a three-way tussle for the apprentices' title with Ben Curtis and Gary Carroll.