FREEZING temperatures could cause serious disruption to this weekend’s big jumps meetings.
The opening day of Newbury’s Coral Gold Cup meeting on Friday must pass a 7.30am inspection on raceday with the mercury set to dip below zero tonight.
PAConstitution Hill is due to return at Newcastle on Saturday – weather permitting[/caption]
And Newcastle’s big Fighting Fifth Hurdle card, which is meant to be the starting point in Constitution Hill’s season, is also under threat from frost and snow.
The entire course at Newcastle has been covered in frost sheets since Tuesday in a bid to beat the cold snap.
The track is raceable at the moment, and unless there is significant snowfall on Thursday night or Friday, an inspection is likely going to be called for Saturday.
Temperatures could drop to -3C on Friday night and might struggle to get above freezing on Saturday, which is the main worry for clerk of the course Eloise Quayle.
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She said: “The forecasters are very wriggly in terms of being pinned down for an amount of snow we are expecting as it’s quite difficult to predict but we are expecting flurries today and tomorrow, which should clear from late afternoon tomorrow.
“The benefit of the snow is the temperature stays a little bit higher, and with the combination of the fleece, it would almost have an insulating effect and would help reduce the risk of frost, but equally if we get any excessive amounts of snow, it would pose its own problems in terms of removing it from the track.
“We’ll have to see how much snow comes and it’s all in the balance at the moment. I’m not being overly negative or positive about our chances and there is definitely still some hope for us.
“The forecast had been fairly certain but it has slightly improved. It’s not all lost at this stage.”
As for Newbury, clerk of the course George Hill is cautiously optimistic racing will go ahead on Friday, and they will have to monitor the situation ahead of the Coral Gold Cup card on Saturday.
He said: “We got cold last night but we’re raceable under the covers at the moment.
“It’s a similar forecast tonight as we had last night so hopefully we’ll be able to survive that.
“We’ve announced an inspection as a bit of a concern. We might be able to get up to 3C or 4C today, it’s warming up a bit before we freeze again tonight.
“Hopefully the covers keep doing their job but obviously a second night of -2C or -3C would be problematic at best. We still have no problems at the moment.”
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