Monday 18 November 2019

Heavy fog causes flight disruptions for Cheltenham race goers

A stable lad returns to the stables on a foggy morning on St Patrick's Thursday during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham racecourse.
A stable lad returns to the stables on a foggy morning on St Patrick's Thursday during the Cheltenham Festival at Cheltenham racecourse.

Severe fog hit the plans of racegoers travelling over to the UK for the Cheltenham Festival as flights were disrupted

Many arrivals and departures were cancelled at London City Airport - which is a two-hour drive from the racing track in the Cotswolds - as visibility was described as at 100 metres.

Passengers travelling from Ireland across the Irish Sea were told to check with their airlines before making their way to the airport.

Thousands of Irish people travel to the festival each day - with some making day trips across the water for the racing.

At the midlands airport of Birmingham - a popular hub for those travelling to the races - there were delays reported. An Aer Lingus flight from Cork was experiencing a delay of several hours, as was an Easyjet Flight from Belfast International, while an early morning Ryanair flight from Dublin arrived with a 50-minute delay.

A blanket of fog covered the Prestbury Park track from early morning as racegoers poured through the gates for the hotly touted 'battle of the sexes' clash between the Willie Mullins-trained mare Annie Power and the record-breaking English-trained horse Big Buck's.

Simon Claisse, clerk of the racecourse, said told how the fog had descended heavily since 5am.

But forecasters told them it was expected to lift throughout the day.

"We are forecast a nice afternoon with sunny spells," he said. He told how they took the decision after racing yesterday to put a little water on parts of the new course as it had been drying out.

"We've not had any rain for 10 days now," he said.

The UK Met Office had issued a yellow warning across England, Wales and southwest Scotland, advising people to take extra care.

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