It's full steam ahead for Naas and Thurles
Although the meeting scheduled for Cork on Sunday has been cancelled due to flooding, only a deluge tonight will prevent both Naas and Thurles staging meetings tomorrow ahead of the surviving Sunday session at Fairyhouse.
Further encouragement that the fortnight break without Irish racing will be at an end emanated yesterday from Naas and Fairyhouse, where both venues were reported ready to resume after the frost and snow impasse.
"Thankfully, we're perfectly raceable as we speak. We're a small bit nervous about the forecast for heavy rain on Friday night, but it will take a lot to stop us," said Naas manager Tom Ryan at lunch-time.
"Pierce Molony rang me from Thurles earlier this week to see if he could opt for postponing from Thursday until Saturday as well and I didn't have a problem with that arrangement," added fellow Tipperary native Ryan.
Fairyhouse manager Caroline Gray likewise was happy that the 'chase course, which had been giving cause for concern, was deemed fit for Sunday's action, which features the Normans Grove Chase, when inspected yesterday.
It's no surprise that the going will be heavy at all three tracks as the sport attempts to make up for lost opportunities with a schedule of six fixtures in as many days, before the two-day Leopardstown session next weekend.
Patrons at the Dublin course will be able to avail of a significant concession following their announcement of a special €20 admission ticket for the combined MCR Hurdle and Toshiba Champion Hurdle racedays.
In fact, Horse Racing Ireland's racecourses chief executive Michael O'Rourke is implementing price reductions at all their venues during 2010, with this €20 fee representing a 50pc discount on last year's charges. If these tickets are not purchased in advance online, by phone or when calling to their office, the adult charge at Leopardstown's turnstiles will be €15 daily, which is €5 less than the standard rate in 2009.
Furthermore the €15 adult admission at Naas, where U-18s and students with valid cards can go in free, entitles these patrons to both a €5 bet with any of the course bookmakers and a €5 refreshment voucher.
Not to be left out in the cold, Punchestown are offering a free reserved enclosure upgrade if general admission tickets for their traditional end-of-season festival (April 20-24) are purchased before the end of January.