Sport Horse Racing

Monday 22 September 2014

Racing decimated by the big freeze

Published 21/01/2013 | 17:36

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As many race meetings are abandoned due to the weather race horses are exercised in the snow on the gallops outside Malton, North Yorkshire, England.
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SNOW continues to play havoc with turf racing as prospects for a quick return in Britain look slim but the outlook for Ireland is brighter.



Ayr is hoping to race on Wednesday after the British Horseracing Authority awarded them an extra meeting, but snow now features in their forecast.



Clerk of the course Emma Marley said: "The forecast is slightly problematic.



"All we can do is wait and see as it is coming in from the east coast and it is quite heavy over there."



Catterick's meeting, also on Wednesday, has already been abandoned after an inspection.



Turf meetings at Leicester and Wetherby on Tuesday had been lost to the weather, but there is a chance of racing at Exeter on Wednesday - although it needs the forecast to go their way.



"We've got a glimmer of hope," said clerk of the course Barry Johnson, who will inspect at 8am on Tuesday.



"We're not too sure what's going to fall overnight, it could easily be snow, which would give us no chance.



"But it may be rain or sleet which would help shift the snow."



Warwick's meeting on Thursday was abandoned after an impromptu 11am inspection was called by clerk of the course Sulekha Varma.



Fakenham's card on the same day is subject to a 12 noon inspection on Tuesday after officials report the track being covered in four inches of snow.



Varma is also the clerk at Huntingdon, which is due to stage racing on Friday but must inspect at 9.30am on Wednesday.



"We hope things improve in time with the meeting being on Friday," she said.



"There is at least two to three inches of snow across the site which is enough to cause a problem."



Doncaster race on Friday and Saturday, with Friday's meeting subject to a 10am inspection on Wednesday after five inches of snow fell on the track.



Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan said: "It depends which forecast you look at but there are glimmers of hope.



"The forecast for Thursday night into Friday is a little bit difficult."



All eyes are on Cheltenham, however, which is due to stage Festival Trials Day on Saturday.



Clerk of the course Simon Claisse describes the meeting as "being in the balance" and expects a better idea of prospects by Wednesday morning.



"The course remains raceable under the covers. The temperatures are below freezing and there is a just a touch of very light snow in the air," he said.



"There is the chance we will get further light snow tomorrow with temperatures beginning to get better by Thursday/Friday and rain on Saturday.



"I think it is still very much in the balance at this stage.



"The next crucial stage in our thinking will be after we have had the snow that's forecast for tomorrow and tomorrow night.



"I think we will have a pretty good idea as to the way it's heading on Wednesday morning."



Limerick expects to get the show back on the road in Ireland with their jumps meeting on Wednesday.



Racing last took place across the Irish Sea on Saturday at Naas are hopes are high that Limerick will go ahead.



"We should be OK. We passed an informal inspection this morning, the forecast is pretty good," said general manager Russell Ferris.



Gowran is confident of staging the meeting on Thursday, featuring the Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase.



"We have wintry conditions going right into Thursday, but the track is fit to race," said clerk of the course Paddy Graffin.



Racing on an artificial surface took place at Wolverhampton on Monday and another meeting is planned there for Tuesday.



A similar card at Lingfield on the same day hinges on a 7am inspection.

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