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Racing battles on in Arctic conditions

The current Arctic conditions continue to decimate racing.

The only surviving meeting yesterday was on Kempton's all-weather track after the earlier abandonments of Ayr, Catterick and Plumpton.

The cards at Market Rasen and Leicester today had already bitten the dust, and Wincanton drew stumps after bringing forward a scheduled 9am inspection.

“We got down to minus 3C last night, we couldn't race today and the forecast is for 1C but feeling like minus 4C in the wind so it's not going to come out,” said clerk of the course Barry Johnson last night.

“I've spoken to the Met Office and they're forecasting two inches of snow tonight so there was little hope really.”

Lingfield are due to race on the Polytrack today but even that fixture is in some doubt as an inspection has been called.

“We're currently under eight inches of snow, but I haven't been able to get to the track to give people updates,” said clerk of the course Neil MacKenzie Ross last night.

Wolverhampton's all-weather card is due to go ahead today as planned.

Exeter tomorrow has gone already due to frost, another track looked after by Johnson, who said last night: “There's no snow at all, but the killer is the forecast.

“It's due to get to around minus 4C tonight and minus 7C tomorrow night.

“It was no good messing around so we've pulled it early.”

Sandown’s card tomorrow is under a huge cloud, with snow the problem in Esher, and an inspection has been called for today.

“I think we are anticipating further snow in the area,” said clerk Andrew Cooper.

Wetherby's meeting on Saturday has been abandoned already with clerk of the course Jonjo Sanderson not even bothering to call an inspection.

“It's madness, I'd say it's worse here now than it was at any stage last year,” he said.

“It has snowed all day and is forecast to carry on through the day and into the night.

“I live two miles from the track and I've just popped home and it took me an hour.”

Sunday's fixture at Kelso is already off, while Bangor will inspect at 11am tomorrow for Monday's meeting.

Musselburgh will also inspect tomorrow to assess prospects for racing on Monday.

Clerk of the course Harriet Graham said yesterday: “We had 3cm of snow last night and at 8am it was minus 5C. The trouble is it is not getting any warmer.

“It is due to be below freezing all day which is a huge problem obviously.

“We'll inspect at 12 noon on Friday and I imagine that would give us a good idea.”

Hexham's meeting next Wednesday would already look to need a minor miracle as it was heavy before being hit by two feet of snow. They inspect at midday on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Robert Thornton has completed a miraculous recovery from a serious knee ligament injury — some six months ahead of schedule.

Belfast Telegraph


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