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Racing held in very icy grip

Punchestown have been forced to cancel Saturday's meeting due to a heavy covering of snow.

Course officials had been monitoring the situation since the beginning of the week but yesterday made the move to make an early decision due to an unfavourable weather forecast.

Sunday's meeting at Leopardstown is still in the balance with the course unraceable at present and further updates expected today.

Irish Turf Club press officer Cliff Noone said yesterday: “They (Leopardstown) are still unfit for racing with a covering of snow. Joe Collins (clerk of the course) will be there tomorrow and we will have an update then.”

Horse Racing Ireland have announced a replacement fixture at Thurles on Friday, January 15 due to the spate of recent cancellations.

The meeting scheduled for today at Thurles was abandoned earlier this week.

Ffos Las are clinging to the hope that they will be able to stage Saturday's meeting, which features the SIS Live Welsh Champion Hurdle, despite the track currently being covered by a light dusting of snow.

The Tolworth Hurdle has also been salvaged from Sandown's abandonment last weekend, meaning Britain's newest racetrack will stage their first Grade One race.

However, with temperatures set to dip, clerk of the course Tim Long is hoping for a break in the weather to enable him to get frost sheets down.

“We've got a good chance of racing but the only thing that would give us cause for alarm is that the overnight temperatures are due to get decidedly lower by Thursday and Friday,” he said.

Belfast Telegraph