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Outlook bleak until next week

A decision was set to be made today on whether Saturday's fixture at Punchestown would be able to go ahead or not, but once the snow descended on the Kildare track yesterday afternoon officials decided to abandon the meeting there and then, with prospects looking bleak for remainder of the week.

Cliff Noone of the Turf Club said yesterday evening: "Following an inspection at Punchestown the course was found to be unfit for racing due to a heavy covering snow and as a consequence the fixture scheduled for Saturday has been cancelled. The course at Leopardstown ahead of Sunday's fixture is still unfit for racing and the situation is being monitored."

Horse Racing Ireland also announced yesterday that a replacement fixture has been scheduled for next Friday at Thurles giving the Tipperary track a two-day meeting next week beginning with the original fixture on Thursday.

However, changes have been made in light of the current weather conditions and next Thursday's card will now comprise seven races, six of which will be hurdles and the final race being a bumper, while on Friday the meeting will hold six chases only.

Following the cancellation of both all-weather cards in England yesterday, leaving a blank day in the UK, William Hill slashed the odds on when there will be jump racing next across the Irish Sea with Saturday January 16 and beyond the favourite at 4/5.

Saturday's valuable Ffos Las card, the last National Hunt hope for that day, is the latest meeting to fall victim to the conditions, with today's all-weather meetings at Lingfield and Kempton cancelled due to a lack of ambulances.

BETTING ON Date Of Next UK Jump Racing Fixture: 4-5 Sat January 16 and beyond; 7-1 Friday January 15; 8-1 Thursday January 14; 11-1 Wednesday January 13; 12-1 Tuesday January 12; 20-1 Monday January 11; 33-1 Friday January 8; 33-1; Sunday January 10.