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Leopardstown latest casualty

Leopardstown unsurprisingly became the latest meeting to fall victim of the cold snap and, with the prospects not for a swift change, a replacement date is unlikely to be immediately announced.

The call was taken yesterday afternoon after temperatures failed to get up, and now Irish trainers will have to wait until Thursday at the earliest before racing will take place on these shores, although if weather reports are accurate, chances of action on Thursday or Friday could also be slim.

Tom Burke of Leopardstown said yesterday: "We had another very cold night and we have a covering of snow on the track. With the forecast anything but good for the next few days there was no sense in delaying a decision any longer.

"The forecast is that the current cold spell will last for at least another week, so, while we are thinking about contingency plans at this stage, there would appear to be little chance of rescheduling until the weather improves."

Pierce Molony of Thurles Racecourse is hoping that his track can bring the Irish racing fraternity back to normality later next week.

"I understand that they hope to have rising temperatures from Monday, and thank God we've been clear of snow and it's just the frost in the ground that is beating us," he said.

"The hurdle track would only take a day to get rid of it although the chase track would take a couple of days. That is why we have a hurdles programme on the Thursday and have put the chases on Friday."

Leading trainer Noel Meade yesterday spoke of how difficult trainers are finding it to continue with the horses training.

Although admitting to be in a better condition than most, Meade spoke on how the cold conditions have halted his outdoor gallops.

"It's quite unusual how the weather has changed because I would say that over the past 10 years we haven't really had this sort of prolonged frost and snow, but it is pretty bad at the moment," said Meade.

"We have about three inches of snow which fell yesterday and all the outside and all-weather gallops are covered in snow and are frozen as well. We are lucky enough in that we have a two-furlong indoor which we can work away and keep the horses ticking over -- we can't really do fast work in it but we can keep going."

Meade added: "It is wonderful to have that to keep the horses exercising, but I am sure most trainers are struggling. It's the snow -- once that gets into the all-weather it freezes, and while sometimes you get away with the frost, when the snow gets in it gets lumpy and we can't use them then."


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