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Weather hits Punchestown with a knock-out blow

Punchestown's big meeting on Sunday, featuring the Grade One John Durkan Chase, has been postponed.

The course is currently under two feet of snow, but Horse Racing Ireland officials have moved quickly to reschedule the card for next Thursday.

Dundalk's all-weather meeting, which was due to take place this evening, has now been moved to Sunday afternoon due to concerns about safety. It is also hoped to race in Dundalk tomorrow.

Navan's meeting, originally scheduled tomorrow, has been cancelled due to snow and will now take place on December 19.

Sunday's fixture at Clonmel is also off after the track was found to be unraceable. Officials made the decision to cancel the jumps card following a course inspection yesterday. The situation is compounded by an unfavourable weather forecast.

The Keith Prowse Hospitality Tingle Creek Chase will now be staged at Cheltenham after tomorrow's high-profile meeting at Sandown became a casualty.

Clerk of the course Andrew Cooper had announced an inspection for 3.00pm yesterday to assess the prospects for the jumps card.

But he said afterwards: “Unfortunately it hasn't improved and, if anything, it's actually marginally worse as we've had a few snow flurries.

“We have five inches of snow on the track and that is going to stay there until Saturday at least.

“It's due to warm a bit from Saturday, but everyone at the course is of the opinion that it will not be soon enough.”

Sandown's loss is Cheltenham's gain as the Tingle Creek will now be staged at Prestbury Park tomorrow week.

David Mackinnon, managing director for Sandown, said: “The Tingle Creek meeting on the Saturday has grown in recent years and we had gathered such momentum that in 2009 our paying attendance was the highest for 10 years.

“We are devastated to have abandoned the meeting as it's a day of fantastic racing and festive entertainment. However we are delighted the Tingle Creek has been rescheduled at Cheltenham.”

With a milder forecast, the fixture lost at Exeter today has been salvaged for Sunday.

Meanwhile, Andrew Balding is confident Dream Eater is ready to run for his life in the Hong Kong Mile at Sha Tin on Sunday week following a workout after racing at Kempton on Wednesday.

The five-year-old was victorious at the track last month and while that was his first success of the year, he has been placed on four other occasions in Pattern company.

“His spin at Kempton went absolutely fine. I think he'll run a very good race in Hong Kong.

“We know he loves fast ground and a fast pace, and the right-handed track will suit him as well.

“It would be nice to see him win a Group race, as he has been placed in plenty,” said Balding.

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