Sport Horse Racing

Saturday 18 November 2017

BHA nod for extra all-weather meetings

Ashley Iveson

With the cold snap continuing to decimate the racing fixture list, the British Horseracing Authority have moved to lessen the damage by adding three further all-weather fixtures for next week.

There will be no National Hunt racing in Britain until Tuesday at the earliest, with a combination of snow and frost leading to countless abandonments, so BHA officials have added fixtures at Kempton, Lingfield and Southwell.

Kempton's Monday card will be made up of six races and entries will close at noon tomorrow. Declarations must be made by 10.0am.

Additional meetings will also be staged at Lingfield on Tuesday and Southwell on Wednesday, although the details of those cards have yet to be confirmed.

While further all-weather fixtures have been organised, the abandonment of yesterday's meetings at Lingfield and Kempton are proof that not even they are guaranteed to go ahead.

Although the surface at both venues was raceable, the meetings had to be called off due to a shortage of ambulances.

The widespread treacherous conditions have led to a prioritising of Britain's National Health Service resources.

Kempton clerk of the course Barney Clifford said: "In the eyes of the NHS Trust, the country is on red alert.

"They therefore had to issue a 'force majeure' which meant we were unable to be provided with ambulances. It's such a shame as the course is perfectly raceable," he added.

Lingfield are due to race again today and MacKenzie Ross is pleased to report ambulances have been arranged and officials are now keeping their fingers crossed that the weather does not deteriorate.

Southwell should also race today after coming through yesterday's fixture without any problems, while officials at Wolverhampton will stage an 8.30am inspection to assess the prospects of racing at Dunstall Park.

Tomorrow's valuable National Hunt card at Ffos Las has already fallen by the wayside with frost and snow taking hold at the Welsh venue.

The news comes as a blow to the track, who were due to stage the rearranged Blue Square Tolworth Hurdle and the SIS Live Welsh Champion Hurdle.

Monday's meetings at Ayr and Taunton have also been called off, while Newcastle needs a 'small miracle' to race on Tuesday.

Newcastle will stage a noon inspection on Sunday ahead of Tuesday's card, but clerk of the course James Armstrong does not hold out much hope.

Irish Independent

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