Weather watch: Cheltenham hopeful for Friday card

Thu 8 Dec 2022

Cheltenham are “hopeful” Friday’s card will go ahead, but the Glenfarclas Crystal Cup Cross Country Handicap Chase has been called off following a 1pm inspection of that track on Thursday.

Day one of the International meeting is subject to a precautionary inspection at 7.30am on Friday as course officials brace themselves for another night of freezing temperatures.

However, Cheltenham clerk of the course Jon Pullin is currently happy with the role the frost covers – which have been in place since Wednesday afternoon – are playing at Prestbury Park.

And although having to concede defeat with the cross-country race which kicks off Friday’s scheduled action, Pullin is optimistic the rest of the card be given the green light on Friday morning.

He said: “Unfortunately, although we have seen some improvement, we still have frozen areas and the forecast is for another frost this evening. So unfortunately we’ve abandoned the race.

“We are certainly hopeful at this stage and there is no frost under the covers at the moment. While we have that additional frost this evening, I would be hopeful that the covers continue to do their job and we’ll be in a good position for racing tomorrow.”

The current cold snap saw Thursday’s meeting at Warwick abandoned, while Newcastle’s jumps fixture had to pass a second inspection at 10am.

Bangor’s meeting on Friday needs to pass an 8am precautionary inspection and although frost sheets are being utilised, Doncaster will also inspect at 9am.

Action in Ireland is also affected with Navan’s card on Saturday subject to a 12pm precautionary inspection on Friday, while Cork will conditions at the same time on Saturday to determine the prospects for racing on Sunday, with the feature Bar One Racing Hilly Way Chase the scene for the intended return of Willie Mullins’ Champion Chase hero Energumene.

Clerk of the course Val O’Connell, said: “The ground at Cork is yielding to soft, soft in places. The track is in great order with a great covering of grass.

“We will have fresh ground on both the hurdle and chase tracks and have covers down on both the take off and landing side of the fences.

“Due to the forecast for widespread frost over the coming days, there will a precautionary inspection at 12pm on Saturday to determine the prospect for racing on Sunday.”

Carlisle’s fixture on Sunday is under threat with an inspection planned for 8.30am on Friday. Temperatures reached minus 9C in the back straight on Wednesday night.

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