Prospects bright for Cork meeting

CORK, which is set to house a terrific card, is virtually certain to go ahead on Sunday.

“We’re in good shape right now,” reported manager Michael O'Neill. “There is no snow on the track and we are confident. The weather forecast is positive for the rest of the week and we will have two fresh tracks on Sunday.”

Feature event is the Grade 2 O’Connell Group Hilly Way Chase, which has attracted an impressive entry.

Among the 12 possibilities are the likes of Golden Silver, Osana, Psycho, Kempes, Roberto Goldback, Scotsirish and Zaarito.

There are two Grade 3 contests on the programme, the O’Connell Group Cork Stayers’ Novice Hurdle and a novice chase.

There will also be racing at Cork on Monday and admission will be free.

Navan too is set to race on Sunday, featuring the Grade 1 Navan Novice Hurdle. But an unexpected heavy snowfall saw some nine inches on the track yesterday, so it remains to be seen what the weather will bring as the week progresses.

The triple Grade 1 meeting at Fairyhouse on Saturday is also in some doubt, after that course was hit by an unexpected snowfall as well.

Manager, Peter Roe, said: “Snow has set us set us back a bit, we will need luck, but will give it every chance.”

Prospects for Gowran Park on Friday are described as “not good”, after the track was hit by further snow. There will be an 8am inspection on Thursday.

nCheltenham’s executive believe they may have ridden out the worst of the cold weather and give this weekend’s International meeting every chance of going ahead.

The two-day fixture starts on Friday and the chase and hurdles courses have been covered over since Sunday with both tracks currently rated as good.

The cross country course, which is partly covered, is good, good to firm and frozen in places.

Snow-bound Doncaster is unlikely to thaw out in time to host a two-day meeting beginning on Friday.

Although no decision on the fate of the meeting is expected to be taken until an official inspection at noon today, the forecast held little promise that the six to eight inches on snow on-course would shift.

Huntindon clerk of the course Andrew Morris fears warmer temperatures will strike too late to save tomorrow’s Peterborough Chase meeting.

Morris will inspect at 8am this morning.

Southwell’s meeting yesterday was abandoned before the fourth race after low visibility and freezing temperatures were adjudged to be threatening jockey safety.

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