Weather claims Ascot and Taunton

This afternoon's high-profile fixture at Ascot and the card at Taunton have been abandoned due to frozen tracks.

Ascot has been forced to abandon today's meeting

The popular Berkshire venue was due to stage an attractive card featuring the Berkshire Community Foundation Clarence House Chase, in which Irish challenger Un De Sceaux was set to bid for back-to-back victories.

However, though the track was completely covered with frost covers earlier in the week, the ground remained frozen on Friday and clerk of the course Chris Stickels was pessimistic about the chances of the meeting going ahead after calling an early-morning inspection.

Officials staged an official check at 6.30am and it did not take them long to draw stumps.

Stickels said: "We've had to abandon, unfortunately.

"It dipped down to minus 3C overnight, which is what was forecast.

"It's less cold at the moment, but temperatures could fall again at dawn and we're only due to get up to plus 2C or 3C today.

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"We had similar temperatures on Friday morning and got up to plus 6C in the afternoon and we still weren't raceable, so we've got no chance today."

Stickels confirmed on Friday discussions were under way about the possibility of rescheduling the Clarence House Chase for a later date.

Officials at Taunton had no option but to abandon following another night of sub-zero temperatures.

Temperatures dipped to minus 3C on Wednesday night and while the track was raceable on Thursday, clerk of the course Jason Loosemore announced an official inspection morning inspection.

Loosemore said: "We finished covering the track at around 4.30pm on Friday and at that stage we were perfectly raceable.

"The forecast suggested temperatures could get down to minus 2C and we felt that would be okay.

"Unfortunately, we got down to minus 4.5C and it's still hovering around minus 4C at 8.30am.

"Obviously the track isn't raceable and temperatures are only going to get up to around plus 3C this afternoon, which isn't going to be enough.

"Aside from losing a Saturday meeting with a big crowd expected, we were due to be on ITV with Ascot being abandoned, which would have been a first for us.

"It's disappointing as everyone put in a massive effort on Friday. It wasn't through a lack of effort, that's for sure."

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