All systems go for Kempton

With tomorrow’s action from Warwick and Wetherby in doubt due to the threat of waterlogging, punters should at least have some jumps action to look forward to at Kempton.

With tomorrow’s action from Warwick and Wetherby in doubt due to the threat of waterlogging, punters should at least have some jumps action to look forward to at Kempton.

While the ground is testing at the Sunbury venue, clerk of the course Brian Clifford does not foresee any major problems – providing the weather forecast does not prove inaccurate.

“We are soft and heavy in places at present,” said Clifford.

“The forecast suggests there is a band of rain coming tonight, which hopefully shouldn’t be as heavy as what we had this morning.

“We are perfectly raceable now and we’d probably cope with eight millimetres but we wouldn’t want to see a huge amount.”

Wetherby is in doubt due to the continuing wet weather, which has forced a precautionary inspection at 8.00am.

Earlier in the week officials abandoned three scheduled chases, replacing them with additional hurdle races in an attempt to get the meeting on.

However, the hurdles track is now giving substantial cause for concern.

Clerk of the course James Sanderson said: “We’re heavy here at the moment and we really need a dry night.

“There’s a bit of rain about now and if we do get any significant precipitation overnight I suspect that might put an end to our hopes.”

Racing at Warwick, which is set to feature the £70,000 totesport.com Classic Chase and the Grade Two Ballymore Properties Leamington Novices’ Hurdle, is also under threat from rain.

Clerk of the course Fiona Needham is praying for a relatively dry night before she holds a precautionary check at 7.00am.

With rain still falling mid-afternoon, Needham said: “We’ve had nearly half an inch of rain.

“We are raceable at the moment, but it is still raining and obviously we just need to bear in mind that we could get a bit more yet.

“It appears we are going to get a bit more than has been forecast, but it is supposed to clear away this evening so that should hopefully give us a bit of a chance.”

Irish racegoers face a similarly confused picture with Saturday’s meeting at Punchestown and Sunday’s bumper fare from Leopardstown also under threat.

After apparently surviving the initial threat of waterlogging, Punchestown’s meeting on Saturday is now in doubt due to frost.

Officials initially gave the meeting the all-clear after abandoning the scheduled races over fences to stage an all-hurdle and bumper card.

But due to a forecast of heavy overnight frost, course officials feel it prudent to check conditions at 8.00am before racing can receive the go-ahead.

The card at Leopardstown, which features the ever-valuable Pierse Hurdle, will need to pass a 7.30am inspection on the morning of the meeting, with conditions currently heavy but raceable.

Carlisle’s meeting on Sunday has already bitten the dust, leaving the possibility of Kempton’s all-weather meeting providing the only action in Britain and Ireland that day.

Clerk of the course Jonnie Fenwicke-Clennell was forced to draw stumps on Carlisle after an 8.30am inspection on Friday morning.

He said: “We did have a dry night but it’s still not raceable today and it would not be raceable tomorrow.

“From December 27 we have had just under four inches of rain.”

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