Weekend fixtures dependent upon rise in temperatures

Tue 27 Feb 2018

Prospects of a resumption of jumps racing before the end of the week hangs on whether there is a dramatic upturn in temperatures over the next couple of days.

LISTEN: Simon Claisse on Cheltenham beating the weather

Officials at Doncaster and Newbury have their fingers crossed conditions will give them every chance of staging their two-day fixtures on Friday and Saturday. Both tracks took the precaution of deploying covers last Friday.

Doncaster could have raced on Tuesday, when the going was described as good, good to soft in places, but it is what happens in the short term that will have a real bearing on racing for the weekend.

"It hangs on the next 12 to 20 hours, really," said clerk of the course Roderick Duncan.

"We could have raced today (Tuesday). We have had the covers down since Friday, but we have the lowest temperature tonight into tomorrow and the risk of snow during that period and a significant low is forecast for the following night.

"The forecast for Saturday had improved a little bit and the daytime temperature for Friday has improved just a little bit. At the moment we would be racing.

"We'll decide whether we need to start having formal inspections tomorrow."

Newbury clerk of the course Richard Osgood is concerned about snow and the possibility of temperatures plummeting even further.

"The main problem I'd be worried about would be the snow that is due in on Thursday. That would be the worst," he said.

"We've got to see what's coming Thursday and obviously before then we've got minus temperatures working up to that day. It depends how much gets into the fleece. The lower temperatures we're expecting is the problem."

Osgood reported the going as soft, good to soft in places.

Kelso also has a meeting planned for Saturday, but like the rest of the UK, the Borders track is being affected by snow and freezing temperatures. The going is currently soft.

While the immediate racing action is affected by the 'Beast from the East', 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 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."

Though jumps racing took place at Ayr and Plumpton on Monday, the cold snap was quick to bite with the meetings scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday falling one by one.

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