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Winter blues for Down Royal

By Robert Fenton

A rise in temperature is the Christmas present Down Royal general manager Mike Todd is hoping for to ensure the postponed Boxing Day meeting goes ahead next Thursday.

At the moment, the track is under four to six inches of snow with no sign of a thaw.

“Looking at the forecast, there is no way we could race on Sunday, Monday or even Tuesday,” he said.

“It has hit -12c in places and during the day, the temperature has not got above -7c and to be honest, it would have taken some thaw to have given us any hope of racing on Sunday.

“But having approached Horse Racing Ireland for an alternative date, they offered Thursday and we grabbed it.

“It is vital for the racing industry to get a meeting on as quickly as possible as trainers are feeling the pinch in not being able to run their horses.

“For that reason, the entries have been oversubscribed and we will have to apply the safety limit to nearly all the races.”

Boxing Day traditionally brings out the spectators and while attendance can be expected to be down next Thursday, it should still be more than reasonable.

“Most people are off from Christmas until the New Year and so we should still get a good turn out. I think by then most people will be suffering from ‘cabin fever’ and will be keen to see some racing,” added an optimistic Todd.

As for the Leopardstown festival due to start on Boxing Day, that day’s meeting has been postponed and also rescheduled for next Thursday.

Belfast Telegraph

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