Weather Watch: Doncaster taking a look as Catterick and Musselburgh claimed 'Beast From The East'

Tue 27 Feb 2018

We will update this article throughout the day with the latest news about whether racecourses are winning their battles against the cold snaps.

By staff

Doncaster is the latest racecourse to report they are suffering the effects of the cold weather.

Town Moor is due to stage a two-day meeting on Friday and Saturday, but unless conditions improve markedly it would well be called off.

"The course has been covered since Friday and there’s significant snowfall and freezing temperatures forecast. Unless there is significant improvement in the forecast we have to view the meeting as at risk," the racecourse tweeted.

Thursday's meeting at Ludlow is the latest fixture to fall victim to the current cold snap.

Officials had stated early on Tuesday morning they were not optimistic about the chances of racing and by 9.45am, they had decided to call off the card.

The track is frozen with overnight temperatures forecast to fall well below freezing and snow is also expected.

Tuesday's meeting at Catterick has been abandoned due to snow, but racing goes ahead as planned at Chelmsford.

Catterick clerk of the course Fiona Needham was due to inspect at 8am but brought forward that check to just before 7am.

She said: "We've had about five centimetres of snow and there is more forecast so it is not going to go away.

"With the temperature as it is and more snow expected, it was an easy decision."

Chelmsford had also announced a precautionary inspection for 8am.

Officials at the Essex venue were taking no chances "in view of a relatively local amber weather warning" which has been issued by the Met Office.

The fixture was added to the programme book last week in anticipation of the wintry forecast causing havoc with the National Hunt schedule.

Musselburgh then became the latest victim of the "Beast from the East" as Wednesday's meeting at the venue was abandoned.

Clerk of the course Harriet Graham was due to inspect the track at 8.30am, but she made an early call as the track is frozen.

She tweeted: "Racing abandoned. Freezing temperatures with no prospects to rise above freezing tomorrow."

The latest cancellations mean there will be no jumping action in Britain until Thursday at the earliest.

Racing was scheduled for Ludlow that day, and Taunton has already been called off.

Taunton's meeting was abandoned due to a frozen track. The course has been frozen since last Thursday due to repeated overnight keen frosts. 

Given the predicted forecast, with temperatures set to dip as low as minus 6C and barely due to rise above freezing, course officials took the decision early to abandon. Compounding matters, snow is also forecast.

Leicester, Market Rasen and Wincanton have all been forced to call off meetings this week due to the freezing weather.

Leicester's clerk of the course Jimmy Stevenson inspected conditions at 7.30am on Monday but reported the ground to be frozen with little chance of recovering in time to race on Tuesday.

He said: "We have abandoned. It was minus 3C overnight and it's not going to improve as we're forecast two hours of 1C today and then it's not due to get above that tomorrow."

The meetings at Market Rasen and Wincanton on Wednesday have been abandoned because of frozen tracks. 

Market Rasen clerk of the course Jack Pryor was left with no option but to draw stumps following a 3pm inspection on Monday. 

A statement issued by Market Rasen read: "Areas of the track remain frozen with snow now settling. With declining temperatures and poor outlook over the next couple of days there is no possibility of improvement." 

Wincanton's clerk of the course Barry Johnson called off the card after walking the track on Monday afternoon. 

He said: "We walked the track yesterday afternoon and it was raceable, so we decided that if it was raceable this afternoon, we would then call an inspection. 

"However, it went down to minus 3C overnight and it wasn't raceable today with no chance of it improving. We could get as low as minus 6C and the forecast is horrendous, so we thought it best to make an early call." 

While the immediate racing action is affected by the cold snap, Cheltenham clerk of the course Simon Claisse is feeling upbeat with the Festival due to kick off in two weeks' time.

He is expecting cold conditions at Prestbury Park in the coming days, but reports the long-range forecast to be favourable at this stage.

He told Racing UK: "Undoubtedly this cold spell of weather that's coming from the east is heading our way.

"Temperatures have been down to minus 5C so far on the track this week, we expect those to go down to minus 7C or minus 8C. We've not covered the course because there's some significant snowfall forecast on Thursday and Friday.

"Beyond that, it's looking as though the weather will turn considerably less cold, with rain coming in possibly Sunday or Monday next week with temperatures slowly going upwards.

"It's a long way off at the moment, but there are some strong signals that come a fortnight at the beginning of the Festival, we will be into a mild airflow."

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