Going eases at Newmarket

Going eases at Newmarket

Significant rain has seen the going at Newmarket in England ease to soft ahead of the two-day Qipco Guineas Festival this weekend.

While the headquarters of British Flat racing has escaped the worst of the wet weather that has plagued most of the country over the past few days, it has not got away scot free.

A total of 9.5 millimetres of rain on Monday night and Tuesday morning has caused director of racing Michael Prosser to change the ground from good to soft.

He said this afternoon: “The going stick reading at 3pm today was 6.1 from 6.8 yesterday and the ground is now soft.

“The course has taken the rain well. It is in good order and I am happy with it. Plus, we are currently enjoying a warmer afternoon with some sunny spells.

“There is still some uncertainty about the forecast but the current prediction we have been given is for dry weather during the day on Wednesday before rain moves in late afternoon/early evening with it expected to continue into Thursday morning.

“It is anticipated that we could receive six to eight millimetres of rain.

“That appears to be the last significant rainfall before the start of the Qipco Guineas Festival. On Friday, we are likely to be largely dry, while for Saturday there is only the possibility of light, isolated showers.”

Rain continues to hit the racing programme elsewhere, with certain areas affected worse than others.

Officials at Pontefract have thought it wise to call a 6.30am precautionary inspection on Wednesday morning ahead of their afternoon card.

Although the track was raceable on Tuesday afternoon, course officials will assess conditions in case more rain arrives than has been forecast.

Clerk of the course Norman Gundill said: “There’s rain to the south, but the Met Office say it won’t get to us.

“We are perfectly raceable at the moment and it’s dried a bit since Monday.

“We might get a millimetre or two tomorrow and that would cause us no problems whatsoever, but we’ve had three inches of rain since last Wednesday and I can’t risk the forecast being wrong.”

Also under threat on Tuesday is the jumps meeting at Southwell, which is subject to a further inspection at 6am after the course was found to be fit for racing on Tuesday.

Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan said: “We’ve further rain forecast, possibly another 10 millimetres, so I felt obliged to have another look in the morning.

“We would struggle if we get the worst-case scenario.”

Leicester’s Flat meeting on Thursday has already been abandoned due to waterlogging, while Chepstow’s meeting on Friday has come under threat due to heavy rainfall – with an inspection called by clerk of the course Keith Ottesen for 7am on Thursday.

He said: “We’re going to have a look on Thursday as the rain is supposed to clear away by this afternoon and it should be mainly dry tomorrow, so we’ll have a good idea.

“We’ve had 20 millimetres overnight up to 10am today so if we take it to Thursday, when there’s more forecast, we should know where we stand.

“At the minute we are waterlogged in places.”

Hexham’s evening meeting on Saturday will be a seven-race all-hurdles and bumper card after the three chases were abandoned due to waterlogging.

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