The current bad weather is hitting everyone involved in racing particularly hard. Damien McElroy discovers how some trainers and jockeys are coping with the big freeze
Unable to reach any of the St Stephen's Day meetings, Wexford trainer Paul Nolan, who missed out narrowly on a couple of the better prizes at Leopardstown, subsequently has been luckier than most weather-wise.
"The ground is hard but we're not too bad as we have missed out on the snow so far. Although the main Enniscorthy-New Ross road was lethal on St Stephen's Day, it has been cleared since.
"We're fortunate that a neighbour Tim Harrington, who is a landscape gardener, has loaned us a machine for burying stones that we use to break up the frost during the night that keeps our main gallop open.
"We take turns doing it, mainly my dad Jimmy, which allows us to keep the horses on the move during the day. Joncol, Noble Prince and Alpha Ridge, which all ran over three miles at Leopardstown, have just been ticking over.
"Their work is cut in half for a week or two before we go to war again with them. Joncol goes back there next month for the Hennessy Gold Cup which is the obvious target for him after going close in the Lexus Chase.
"I believe Noble Prince might have won the Woodies DIY Hurdle had we waited a bit longer to challenge with him because the horses that he passed turning for home ended up going by him again.
"We could drop him back in trip for the Red Mills Hurdle at Gowran Park as he has plenty of pace, and Alpha Ridge, whose jumping went to pieces at Leopardstown behind Pandorama, could go there too.
"He won the Galmoy Hurdle on Thyestes Day last year and when the frost comes out of the ground the going could get very deep which would really suit him."
As well as this proven trio, Shinrock Paddy, which has won on each of his starts to date over timber "is fresh and playful at home and goes to Leopardstown later this month for a Grade Two hurdle over two and a half miles".