Lack of thaw puts Thurles fixture on ice
Hopes of Thurles resuming racing tomorrow in the wake of the big freeze were dashed yesterday afternoon when the course failed to pass a Turf Club inspection due to frost.
A bitter wind that greatly compromised the anticipated thaw following some rain showers yesterday morning looks like leading to a 48-hour postponement of the Tipperary venue's two-day fixture to Saturday and Sunday.
Delayed by road conditions en route from Limerick to Thurles, the Turf Club's senior inspector of courses Val O'Connell eventually confirmed owner-manager Pierce Molony's fears for resuming tomorrow.
"Today's totally unexpected freezing weather put us back on our heels and Val has advised us to wait until Saturday to run our hurdles meeting to give the place every chance of thawing out," Molony explained.
"It was the coldness of the morning that did the damage although the temperature had got up to three degrees at 8.45. But it was down to zero again at noon after some rain and I told the lads out on the course to go home.
"It was a shocking south-eastern wind which meant there was no more frost coming out of the ground and the chase track is still frozen. If the temperatures get up to eight or nine as forecast on Friday we should be okay for Saturday," he added.
Prospects for the original Naas meeting on Saturday remained in the balance despite a slight thaw yesterday that saw the majority of their track clear of snow, so it's possible that meeting may be put back to next Tuesday.
Further updates from each location will be taken into consideration by Horse Racing Ireland later today before any final decisions are made about amending the weekend schedule to maximise opportunities.
Sunday's dates at Fairyhouse and Cork were under threat as well with both courses deemed unfit for racing by the Turf Club yesterday due to snow and ice, although the scenario in Meath was reportedly less severe.