Leopardstown confident despite early morning inspection
OFFICIALS at Leopardstown remain confident this weekend's top-class two-day fixture will go ahead despite calling an 8am precautionary inspection ahead of Saturday's card.
Although the Foxrock venue has been hit by further rainfall on Friday afternoon, conditions remain raceable at this stage and Leopardstown's racing and operations manager Nessa Joyce is hopeful day one of the meeting will beat the weather.
The Frank Ward Solicitors Arkle Novice Chase takes centre stage on Saturday, ably supported by the Leopardstown Handicap Chase and the Boylesports.com Hurdle on a fantastic seven-race card.
Joyce, speaking at 4pm, said: "It's a precautionary inspection as we are perfectly raceable at the moment and at this stage, I'm not too worried.
"We had a sharp blast of rain about an hour ago, which gave us four millimetres and the ground is soft to heavy, heavy in places on both the chase and hurdle track.
"We're really inspecting because there is more rain forecast between now and midnight and it's not clear how much we're going to get.
"It's the uncertainty of it more than anything else. We could get nothing or we could get something significant, so we'll just have to see what materialises.
"We're not in any danger zone at the moment and I'm very hopeful."
The feature event on Sunday is the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle.
With fresh ground provided for all hurdle races on Sunday, Joyce does not anticipate any problems with the races over timber.
However, the chase track is something officials will be keeping an eye on.
"All week we have been more worried about Thursday night into Friday. Saturday itself is a largely dry day, with some rain coming in on Saturday night," said Joyce.
"If we can get through tonight and everything is fine, we'll be happy.
"The hurdle track for Sunday is fresh ground that hasn't been raced on in about a year and the chases tomorrow will tell us a lot more about the ground on the chase track."