New dates for Leopardstown and Punchestown

HORSE Racing Ireland officials have acted quickly to transfer tomorrow’s abandoned Leopardstown meeting to Saturday, January 23.

The meeting at Navan which was originally scheduled for this date will transfer to Wednesday, January 27.

Leopardstown will now stage a top-class weekend of National Hunt racing, with the feature race on Saturday’s card being the MCR Hurdle, formerly the Pierse Hurdle.

The Toshiba Irish Champion Hurdle, a major Cheltenham trial, takes centre stage on Sunday and is likely to feature Solwhit and Voler La Vedette..

The abandoned Punchestown meeting from January 9 will now take place on Wednesday, January 20.

Meanwhile, today’s all-weather fixtures at Kempton and Lingfield are under threat with officials at both tracks set to stage 6.30am precautionary inspections.

Although Lingfield raced yesterday, the possibility of further frost and snow overnight has prompted clerk of the course Neil MacKenzie Ross to check again in the morning.

Kempton clerk of the course Barney Clifford will also inspect at 6.30am.

The British Horseracing Authority have again stepped in to try to lessen the blow by adding further all-weather meetings next week.

Lingfield have been given an additional fixture on Thursday, January 14, while Southwell will now race the following day.

There appears to be little light at the end of the tunnel for National Hunt enthusiasts in Britain with another two of next week’s meetings already abandoned.

Last Sunday’s meeting at Plumpton was the last turf fixture to be held in Britain and with the cold snap showing no signs of ending, it may be another week before the jumpers are back in action on that surface.

Monday meetings at Ayr and Taunton fell by the wayside earlier in the week and Tuesday’s action is heading the same way with Newcastle having made an early decision to abandon and Leicester checking at 3.30pm today.

The picture is no brighter on Wednesday with Kelso officials calling off their fixture and Doncaster’s clerk of the course David Williams pessimistic ahead of a 12pm inspection on Monday.

Catterick’s meeting on Thursday is subject to a 12 noon inspection on Monday. Up to eight inches currently lies on the track and clerk of the course Fiona Needham admits a major improvement is needed.

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