Cold snap forces Sedgefield off as tracks call checks

Sedgefield under snow in December 2010

PICTURE: Northern Racing Huntingdon fit to race but Sedgefield called off
By Stuart Riley 8:05AM 13 JAN 2017

FRIDAY'S meeting at Sedgefield has been abandoned after the course was left unraceable due to heavy snow but racing at Huntingdon goes ahead after the course passed an 8am inspection.

Wetherby's card on Saturday is subject to an 8am inspection on raceday morning, while officials at Fakenham will inspect at midday Saturday for Sunday's fixture.

Inspection were called on Thursday for both Sedgefield and Huntingdon, with snow and freezing overnight temperatures forecast.

Huntingdon clerk of the course Jack Pryor said: "I've given it the all clear, the frost is already starting to come out of the ground.

"There is still a risk of snow showers this morning, and it is currently snowing very lightly, but I am confident it will not be a problem.

"We will continue to monitor the situation and if it does get worse we will have to look again."

Frost sheets were deployed on all take-offs and landings at Sedgefield but to no avail, as heavy snow rendered the course unraceable and the meeting was abandoned before the 7am inspection.

Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan said: "We had an inch and a half of snow covering the whole course. It was still snowing and if that wasn't enough, the ground underneath was frozen. It was not a difficult decision."

Racing at Wolverhampton currently goes ahead but officials are monitoring the situation after a light dusting of snow overnight and further light snow on Friday morning.

Racing at Dundalk and Lingfield is unaffected.

Inspections at Wetherby and Fakenham

The cold weather has forced Wetherby to inspect ahead of Saturday's card, with officials taking a look at 8am on the morning of racing.

Wetherby clerk of the course Jonjo Sanderson explained: "It's totally precautionary. If the forecast happens to be significantly worse than what is currently forecast then I would like the luxury to be able to assess the course.

"We're forecast a cold, clear night and if it remains that way then we'll have no problem at all. It's just in case we wake up in the morning and things are significantly different."

Fakenham's Sunday card also faces an inspection at midday on Saturday – although clerk of the course David Hunter warned: "Looking at the latest forecast it is highly likely another inspection will take place early raceday morning."

Wintry scene at Kempton

Kempton could call an inspection for Saturday's 32Red Lanzarote Handicap Hurdle after wintry showers and freezing temperatures overnight.

Speaking on Friday morning, clerk of the course Barney Clifford said: "We have had 17mm of precipitation, which comprised rain, sleet and snow. Some of that snow has settled on the frost covers but we will remove that with blowers this afternoon. Air temperature last night got down to 0.5C but the windchill was -5C. Where it is not covered it is pretty crispy on top so thankfully the covers are down.

"The forecast for tonight is -2C with a similar windchill. I will decide later this afternoon when I get the latest meteorological picture whether I call an inspection or not but hopefully we should be okay.

"I am delighted we have the covers down because windchill can do a lot of damage. All the running lines, bypass areas and canter downs, 90 per cent of the track, is under covers.

"We don't have a lot of time to get them off because the first race is 12.20 and the earliest you probably start uncovering is 9am with a view to removing what is there by 11.30am. It will be all hands on deck in the morning."

An early dusting of snow at Warwick, which also races on Saturday, was quickly disappearing on Friday morning with the course also covered against the frost.

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