Sport Horse Racing

Tuesday 24 October 2017

Frost threatens Ascot and Haydock meetings

Horses out for some
early morning exercise
on snow covered gallops
in Middleham, England
Horses out for some early morning exercise on snow covered gallops in Middleham, England

CLERKS of the course at the two feature meetings on Saturday are expecting a "challenging" few days.

While Ascot and Haydock were raceable yesterday, temperatures are set to drop dramatically over the next few days and frost, plus the prospect of some snow, could threaten both Ascot – where Sprinter Sacre is due to be the headline act in the Victor Chandler Chase – and Haydock.

"Weather conditions haven't been as severe as forecast, but the forecast is for much colder weather," said Ascot clerk of the course Chris Stickels.

"There is obviously a threat, but we have had frost covers down since last Saturday. We are well prepared."

Haydock, where the going is heavy, has also taken precautions.

"We are covered up. It's been so far, so good and we were fit to race today even though it got down to minus 2C," said clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright yesterday.

"The next couple of nights look like a bigger test as we might get down to minus 8C or minus 9C. Covered or not, that will be a fair challenge."

Officials at Newbury will stage a precautionary inspection at 9.0 ahead of today's scheduled meeting.

The jumps meeting scheduled for Newcastle was abandoned due to being covered by two inches of snow, and a harsh frost is expected overnight.

Officials at Market Rasen were also left with no option but to abandon tomorrow's National Hunt fixture due to snow on the track, while Ludlow will hold an inspection this morning.

Looking further ahead, Cheltenham have deployed frost covers on the chase and hurdles courses in an effort to protect Festival Trials Day on Saturday week.

Head of racing Simon Claisse said: "The current forecast is for temperatures to remain cold for the remainder of this week, with some very hard frosts."

Irish Independent

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