Tracks monitor weather ahead of big weekend meetings

Racing is praying for a respite from the wet weather ahead of a big weekend at Newbury and Newcastle.

Conditions at both tracks currently have heavy in the going description, but the north east venue has been having the worst of the rain.

Newcastle are set to stage their biggest meeting of the National Hunt season on Saturday, featuring what looks set to be a fantastic renewal of the StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle.

However, the course has been hit by more than 50 millimetres of rain in recent days.

“Since midnight we’ve had another inch of rain, so that’s well over 50 millimetres in the last three days,” clerk of the course James Armstrong said yesterday afternoon.

“It’s certainly beginning to take its toll. There is water beginning to sit on all sorts of places. At the moment we are heavy, waterlogged in places.”

The situation at Newbury ahead of the three-day Sportingbet Winter Festival meeting, culminating in the Hennessy Gold Cup on Saturday, is not as bad.

The going remained unchanged yesterday afternoon as soft, heavy in places.

“Ground wise, we are still the same. We had 6.5mm of rain overnight and we are due some light rain possibly getting heavier towards dawn then after that clearing up,” said clerk of the course Richard Osgood.

“Towards the end of the week the forecast is for it to get dry, but colder.”

Fairyhouse are also due to stage a big two-day meeting at the weekend.

General manager Peter Roe does not expect any problems. “We’ve had a good drying day today and it is forecast to be mainly dry between now and the weekend, so I’m very confident we’ll be racing,” he said on Monday afternoon.

“The ground is heavy but we’re raceable.

“I’d imagine it will heavy for the next couple of days as we’ve taken a good soaking.

“It should be cracking racing all weekend and I’m very bullish about the meeting going ahead.”

In the meantime, racing continues to be hit in all parts of Britain.

Today’s meeting at Sedgefield has been abandoned due to a waterlogged track, while the other scheduled jumps fixture at Lingfield rests on a 7.30am inspection.

The situation is poor for Wednesday, with Wetherby and Fontwell having already fallen by the wayside.

Wetherby has been abandoned due to a flooded track.

Southwell had already lost their fixtures on Monday and Tuesday due to waterlogging but have been able to hand their all-weather meeting on Wednesday over to Wolverhampton.

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