Thurles and Naas upbeat over jumps action returning
Irish jumps racing could resume on Saturday as prospects for both the re-fixed Thurles card and the original Naas fixture look brighter on foot of a decent rise in temperatures.
While tomorrow's session was declared a non-runner at Thurles, owner-manager Pierce Molony is upbeat that they can stage a predominately hurdles meeting on Saturday and their chase session next Monday.
"Although Friday is gone now, thankfully it's a different world here today as the temperature got up to plus four degrees which allowed us to put the hurdles and rails in place for Saturday," Molony explained.
"Cork are hopeful the water will drain away and they can race as scheduled on Sunday, so we're delaying our chase fixture until Monday as that course is barely raceable at present and the extra day should help us."
Naas official Tom Ryan also reported a welcome thaw, adding: "The vast majority of the track is workable and Turf Club officials are coming here to have a look tomorrow afternoon.
"I'm much more hopeful at this stage although there's still a concern about the rain on Friday night. We will see how it goes and there's always next Tuesday if we have to postpone."
The hurdles track at Fairyhouse was deemed fit for racing yesterday morning ahead of Sunday's other domestic fixture after almost six millimetres of rainfall overnight, but the chase course remained frost-bound.
Across the water, Huntingdon officials remain hopeful their meeting tomorrow can become the first jumps meeting to take place since Plumpton on January 3. An inspection will be held at 8.0 today to assess the prospects.
Tomorrow's other jumps meeting at Musselburgh remains in doubt with an inspection also called for 8.0 today. But, with milder weather forecast the prospects are better for Saturday's provisional fixture.
Saturday's other provisional meeting at Fontwell has been abandoned due to heavy snow, as has Warwick.
Kempton's jumps card on Saturday is subject to a further inspection at 3.0 today. There are plans to stage a replacement all-weather bumper fixture at the track -- which could see a lot of high-profile runners -- but all is not yet lost for the jumps card.
"The temperature is due to rise," said clerk of the course Barney Clifford. "We have no frost on the National Hunt track but the crossings in the back straight are frozen."
Wetherby's Saturday fixture hangs in the balance in light of a mixed forecast.
While Lingfield's all-weather meeting was abandoned yesterday, the seven-race all-bumper card at Southwell went ahead -- much to the delight of Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty who teamed up to record a short-priced treble.
The Seven Barrows handler and his doughty team braved the treacherous elements to oversee victories for Anquetta, Benartic and Dort Tranquille -- all ridden by Geraghty.