Limerick expected to go ahead

The weather continuing to wreak havoc with turf racing in Britain but the outlook is somewhat brighter in Ireland.

Racing last took place a in Ireland at Naas on Saturday but hopes are high that tomorrow’s scheduled meeting in Limerick will go ahead.

“We should be OK. We passed an informal inspection this morning, the forecast is pretty good,” said general manager Russell Ferris.

Gowran is also confident of staging the meeting on Thursday, featuring the Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase.

“We have wintry conditions going right into Thursday, but the track is fit to race,” said clerk of the course Paddy Graffin.

Sunday’s abandoned meeting at Fairyhouse has been transferred to Saturday, February 2.

The original Fairyhouse fixture on that day will now be pushed back to Tuesday, February 5.

The outlook in Britain is far more gloomy as snow continues to cause problems.

Ayr is hoping to race tomorrow after the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) awarded them an extra meeting, but snow now features in their forecast.

Clerk of the course Emma Marley said: “The forecast is slightly problematic.

“All we can do is wait and see as it is coming in from the east coast and it is quite heavy over there.”

Catterick’s meeting, also on tomorrow, has already been abandoned after an inspection.

Turf meetings at Leicester and Wetherby today have been lost to the weather, but there is a chance of racing at Exeter on Wednesday — although it needs the forecast to go their way.

“We’ve got a glimmer of hope,” said clerk of the course Barry Johnson, who will inspect at 8am this morning.

“We’re not too sure what’s going to fall overnight, it could easily be snow, which would give us no chance.

“But it may be rain or sleet which would help shift the snow.”

Warwick’s meeting on Thursday was abandoned after an impromptu 11am inspection was called by clerk of the course Sulekha Varma.

Fakenham’s card on the same day is subject to a 12 noon inspection today after officials report the track being covered in four inches of snow.

Varma is also the clerk at Huntingdon, which is due to stage racing on Friday but must inspect at 9.30am tomorrow.

“We hope things improve in time with the meeting being on Friday,” she said.

“There is at least two to three inches of snow across the site which is enough to cause a problem.”

Doncaster race on Friday and Saturday, with Friday’s meeting subject to a 10am inspection tomorrow after five inches of snow fell on the track.

Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan said: “It depends which forecast you look at but there are glimmers of hope.

“The forecast for Thursday night into Friday is a little bit difficult.”

Racing on an artificial surface took place at Wolverhampton yesterday and another meeting is planned there for today.

A similar card at Lingfield hinges on a 7am inspection.

All eyes are on Cheltenham, however, which is due to stage Festival Trials Day on Saturday.

Clerk of the course Simon Claisse describes the meeting as “being in the balance” and expects a better idea of prospects by tomorrow morning.

“The course remains raceable under the covers. The temperatures are below freezing and there is a just a touch of very light snow in the air,” he said.

“There is the chance we will get further light snow tomorrow with temperatures beginning to get better by Thursday/Friday and rain on Saturday.

“I think it is still very much in the balance at this stage.

“The next crucial stage in our thinking will be after we have had the snow that’s forecast for tomorrow and tomorrow night.

“I think we will have a pretty good idea as to the way it’s heading on Wednesday morning.”

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