Snow joke

Tomorrow's Fairyhouse card among the fallers as racing is hit by icy blast

Niall Cronin

Oh it was all going so well. Without a disagreement for so long, racing and Mother Nature were getting on just fine, but now, just as the best jump horses around are preparing to grace us with their presence, the words cancelled, postponed, frost and snow become deafening.

Those planning on heading to Fairyhouse tomorrow can now go and do some Christmas shopping or sit at home and watch the Hennessy (providing it goes ahead), because due to adverse weather forecasts and the quality of Sunday's card, the home of the Irish Grand National have been forced to move tomorrow's scheduled card to Thursday instead.


The powers that be at Fairyhouse now have to hope that the frost forecast for Saturday night is not as bad as predicted and does manage to clear in time for Sunday's terrific card, featuring three Grade Ones, to go ahead without disruption.

Acting manager at Fairyhouse, Peter Roe, has had a turbulent time since taking over the office following the cancellation after four races of their meeting at the beginning of the month and then the decision to reduce the safety limit to 16 for this weekend followed by last night's move to alter the weekend plans.

Roe said: "Following a committee meeting this evening, we have decided to move the Fairyhouse Saturday card to Thursday in order to give the best possible chance of racing going ahead on Sunday.

"With three top quality Grade One races on Sunday, we want to do everything possible to preserve the card.

"We will be putting frost covers at the take-off and landings of all fences and hurdles to protect Sunday's ground."

Roe went on: "It is an unfortunate situation. However, we feel it is in the best interest of racing by transferring the Saturday meeting to Thursday.

"It will allow time for the track to be prepared to the best possible standard for what is in itself a high quality day's racing," Roe concluded.

Binocular's intriguing seasonal reappearance against the unbeaten Neptune Investment Novice Hurdle winner Peddlers Cross is also gone by the wayside as Newcastle was yesterday under seven inches of snow.

Towcester has been abandoned due to a frozen track, but Newbury are hopeful tomorrow's saving grace, the Hennessy Gold Cup in which Denman will bid to create history and 17 others will bid to stop him, will go ahead.

Clerk of the course at Newbury, Richard Osgood, said: "I am confident of racing going ahead at the moment."