Snow threat to weekend action

  • Last Updated: January 17 2013, 10:24 GMT

Britain's three jumps meetings on Saturday are bracing themselves for snow as the winter is set to take a turn for the worse.

Ascot: Under the covers but now snow is forecast
Ascot: Under the covers but now snow is forecast

Frost has been posing a problem after the prolonged wet spell but officials at Ascot, Haydock and Taunton are doing all they can in a bid to keep the show going.

The card at Ascot, which is due to feature the Victor Chandler Chase, will need to pass a 4.30pm precautionary inspection on Friday if it is to go ahead.

Frost covers have been down since last weekend but snow is forecast which makes their removal very difficult.

Clerk of the course Chris Stickels said: "It got down to minus 4C last night and is not due to get above freezing today and there are some signs of frost under the covers.

"I'm pretty confident we could race today but could not be certain unless I lifted the covers right off and I don't plan on doing that.

"It is due to remain cold, although maybe not minus 4C again.

"Snow is forecast for Friday afternoon and evening, so it makes sense to have a precautionary look on Friday when we'll have a good look under the covers and we'll be able to assess the snow situation."

The Peter Marsh Chase is the highlight at Haydock, but an inspection has been called for 8.30am on Thursday.

Clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright said on Wednesday: "We had a hard night of frost last night and we've another one coming in, so we need to take stock of our circumstances. It's nip and tuck whether it was raceable today. If it's like that after one night we need to evaluate what it's like in the morning."

Officials at Taunton do not know what to expect, but remain hopeful racing will go ahead.

"We don't know whether we are going to be frozen off, snowed off, or waterlogged off as they are now saying this band of snow that we are on the very edge of could turn to rain," said clerk of the course Michael Trickey.

"At the moment we have been raceable and, much to our surprise and delight, we are still hanging in there. We will take the covers off on Friday because if it snows we wont be able to get them off.

"If it turns to rain on Friday night then we might be all right unless we get too much. At the moment things are going more in our favour."

Friday's meeting at Chepstow hinges on a midday inspection on Thursday. The course is already frozen in places and there could be snow to come.

"If we are still frozen tomorrow morning and there is still a strong forecast for snow then we would be pretty certain we'd be unraceable," said clerk of the course Keith Ottesen on Wednesday.

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