Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Leopardstown out in the cold

Leopardstown’s meeting on Sunday, featuring the MCR Hurdle, has been cancelled as conditions are still unraceable.

Snow and frost have troubled officials all week, with the situation having failed to improve.

Leopardstown general manager Tom Burke is now hoping to rearrange the fixture once the Arctic blast subsides.

“We've held an inspection and we have decided to call off the meeting,” said Burke.

“We are looking into the possibility of rescheduling the card for a later date.”

With the cold snap continuing to decimate the racing fixture list, the British Horseracing Authority have moved to lessen the damage by adding three further all-weather fixtures for next week.

There will be no National Hunt racing in Britain until Tuesday at the earliest with a combination of snow and frost leading to numerous abandonments, so BHA officials have added fixtures at Kempton, Lingfield and Southwell.

Kempton's Monday card will be made up of six races and entries will close at noon tomorrow. Declarations must be made by 10am tomorrow.

Additional meetings will also be staged at Lingfield on Tuesday and Southwell on Wednesday, although the details of those cards have yet to be confirmed.

While further all-weather fixtures have been organised, the abandonment of Wednesday's meetings at Lingfield and Kempton are proof that not even they are guaranteed to go ahead.

Although the surface at both venues was raceable, the meetings had to be called off due to a shortage of ambulances.

The widespread treacherous conditions have led to a prioritising of Britain's National Health Service resources.

Kempton clerk of the course Barney Clifford said: “In the eyes of the NHS Trust, the country is on red alert.

“They therefore had to issue a ‘force majeure' which meant we were unable to be provided with ambulances. It's such a shame as the course is perfectly raceable.”

Lingfield are due to race again today and Southwell should also race today after coming through yesterday's fixture without any problems, while officials at Wolverhampton will stage an 8.30am inspection to assess the prospects of racing at Dunstall Park.

Tomorrow's valuable National Hunt card at Ffos Las has already fallen, with frost and snow taking hold at the Welsh venue. The track had been due to stage the Blue Square Tolworth Hurdle and the SIS Live Welsh Champion Hurdle.

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