Weather Forecast Looks Bleak for Weekend Racing
We often have a week or two in the winter where temperatures drop too cold for the turf horse racing meetings to handle and this week looks as though it is the week for it to happen. We have already had plenty of freezing temperatures and snow in the UK, which has already forced some meetings to be abandoned this week and we are set to see more fail to beat the weather this weekend.
On Friday we are scheduled to have two national hunt fixtures at Catterick and Chepstow. The news has already come from Catterick that they cannot race and have abandoned, while it looks likely that snow will hit Chepstow and force that meeting off. With an additional all-weather fixture already in place, we should still have three meetings on Friday, two in the afternoon and one in the evening, and that is without counting the unlikely Chepstow.
Another additional all-weather fixture has been put in place at Chelmsford for Saturday afternoon, with the prospect of some, and possibly all, UK jump racing being abandoned. The forecast does not look good for Wetherby, who are scheduled to have the Grade Two Towton Novice Chase on their card, although that looks as though it may not run. Elsewhere, Musselburgh are reportedly struggling to get things right for their two-day meeting across Saturday and Sunday, with the Edinburgh National and Scottish County Hurdle scheduled for what is one of their biggest meetings of the season.
With the Grade One Scilly Isles Novice Chase and Buveur D’Air in the listed hurdle, Sandown has the main slot on Saturday afternoon, and right now it is 50/50 whether they will race or not. An abandonment could really affect Buveur D’Air, who is taking in this race as his final preparation for defending his Champion Hurdle crown and if the meeting doesn’t make it, Nicky Henderson would love to see the race moved elsewhere either during next week or next weekend so that he can get a race into his stable star before the festival.
One bit of positive news comes from Ireland, where officials at Leopardstown are expecting to beat the weather for their two-day Dublin Racing Festival. Many of the big Irish fancies for Cheltenham will be racing over Saturday and Sunday at the course in what has quickly become a big event on the racing calendar.
Fingers crossed Leopardstown and Sandown make it this weekend, although the forecast for everywhere else looks pretty bleak right now.