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Weather watch: Kelso off on Saturday and Newbury under threat

Wed 28 Feb 2018

There has been no National Hunt racing since Monday and the blank spell could extend to Saturday, with Friday's meeting at Doncaster called off and Newbury due to inspect on Wednesday afternoon.

The course at Newbury was covered at the end of last week, but Richard Osgood is concerned that frost has still worked its way into some patches of ground.

While the Berkshire track has seen only minimal snow so far, Osgood is also anticipating more in the run up to what should be a two-day fixture across Friday and Saturday.

He said: "We will have an inspection at 4pm today as far as Friday's meeting goes.

"The concern is that frost has got into the ground under the covers in some areas of the track. The areas with grass cover are fine, it is the worn areas of ground.

"We haven't had much snow yet, but we are forecast snow tomorrow."

Snow has claimed Saturday's card at Kelso, which was due to feature the Listed Premier Chase and the Grade Two Premier Kelso Novices' Hurdle.

Clerk of the course Anthea Morshead made an early decision to call off the meeting, but is hoping it can be switched to an alternative date.

She tweeted: "Racing abandoned due to snow. We will continue to review options with the British Horseracing Authority for rescheduling .Two years' ago the same fixture was successfully rescheduled to the Sunday, eight days later - the equivalent date of March 11 this year."

Newcastle's meeting on Wednesday evening has been abandoned and there will be an inspection ahead of racing on Thursday.

After four centimetres of snow fell overnight, officials called an inspection for 10am, but that proved inconclusive and another check was made at 11am. That look resulted in the decision to cancel the card.

The cancellation of Newcastle's card means Wolverhampton is the only track to race on Wednesday, while Kempton is also scheduled to be in action on Thursday.

Doncaster's National Hunt meeting on Friday has been abandoned due to snow.

The course has been covered since Friday, but four inches of snow fell on top of those covers on Tuesday night.

Friday's card was due to be the first of two days of action on Town Moor and there will be an inspection at noon on Thursday to assess the chances for Saturday's card, which is due to feature the William Hill Grimthorpe Chase.

Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan said: "Friday's meeting had no chance with all the snow, but we're inspecting at noon tomorrow for Saturday.

"There is a chance of a minor improvement, so we'll see how that forecast develops.

"They are talking about the possibility of rain and warmer weather on Sunday, so if that happens to come forward 24 hours or so, there might be a chance. We just think we need to give Saturday another 24 hours."

Friday's meeting at Chelmsford will have to pass a 1pm inspection on Thursday.

Four inches of snow has fallen at the Essex track overnight with further snow expected ahead of racing on Friday.

The planned Irish action on Thursday and Friday has also been impacted by the cold weather, dubbed the "Beast From The East".

Thursday's card at Clonmel and Friday's evening meeting at Dundalk have both been cancelled by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board due to "an adverse weather forecast and hazardous driving conditions".

Navan's meeting on Saturday is also under threat as the course is currently unfit for racing due to a covering of snow. The situation is currently being monitored, as it is at Leopardstown, where snow is also the issue ahead of Sunday's meeting.

Sunday's meeting at Sedgefield is also in the balance, with a 7am inspection planned for Friday as the track is currently covered in 15 centimetres of snow, with more forecast.

WEDNESDAY:

Market Rasen, Musselburgh, Market Rasen, Newcastle - OFF

Wolverhampton (first race 2.15)

THURSDAY:

Ludlow, Taunton, Clonmel - OFF

Newcastle, all-weather (1.50) - 8am inspection

Meydan (3.05)

Kempton, all-weather (5.55)

FRIDAY:

Doncaster and Dundalk - OFF

Newbury (2.20) - inspection 4pm on Wednesday

Lingfield, all-weather (2.30)

Chelmsford, all-weather (5.45) - inspection 1pm on Thursday

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