Ascot’s Friday fixture cancelled and inspection called for Long Walk card | Horse Racing News
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The Scene at a Frozen Ascot
By Matt Rennie
Ascots Friday’s game was canceled due to frozen ground and officials fear Saturday’s card will not survive the cold snap either.
Officials had planned to hold an 8am Thursday inspection for Friday’s six-race card, but that was brought forward to Wednesday afternoon and the decision made to cancel due to frozen ground with little chance of improvement.
Race director Chris Stickels said earlier Wednesday he was “not confident” about the prospects for next day’s race when the Long Walk Hurdle is the main event. A check for the Saturday ticket will take place on Friday at 8 a.m.
Should the long walk card be lost, there will be no major UK race on consecutive Saturdays after the second day of the December meeting at Cheltenham last weekend, which was due to host the International Hurdle, was lost on a frozen track .
Ascot remained frozen in places on Wednesday after further sub-zero temperatures on Tuesday evening. More freezing conditions below -3C are expected on Wednesday and Thursday evening.
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“We need a sufficient and realistic temperature increase, there is little hope for Friday”
The Saturday ticket features the £150,000 Betfair Exchange Trophy (3.30) alongside the Long Walk (2.20).
Stickels said: “I’m not at all confident for Saturday. Forecasts suggest it could get as high as 5C that day but that won’t be enough to make the track raceable – we went up to 5C last weekend and it made no difference as the track was still frozen.
“Moreover, we’ve had consistent cold since then and the milder period that we hoped might happen sometime from yesterday and today hasn’t materialized at all.”
Betfair Sportsbook is 1-3 for canceling Saturday’s Ascot game while it’s 5-2 for beating the elements and moving on.
Haydock ‘needs a material upgrade to stand a chance’
An inspection will take place on hay dock at 8 a.m. on Thursday for its Saturday session. The track has been frozen since last Wednesday, and temperatures below zero are forecast for Friday.
“We have no hope,” said course leader Kirkland Tellwright on Tuesday. “We would need a significant improvement in prognosis to be able to race. The track is now unraceable and we don’t see any signs of a sufficient thaw before Saturday.
“The track has been frozen since Wednesday and the forecast calls for a series of freezes and lows of around -5C. If it doesn’t thaw between frosty nights, you’re in trouble – sometimes nature can’t be beat.”
Ascot is expected to broadcast five of its races alongside two competitions from Haydock on ITV4, but with both meetings in doubt ITV Racing said on Tuesday they will broadcast “the best action available” from 1pm to 4pm if those meetings are cancelled.
The Uttoxeter inspection leaves the prospect of Friday’s jump racing return unlikely
Uttoxeter‘s card on Friday is unlikely to take place and will have to survive a 9am inspection on Thursday, meaning the prospect of jump races taking place in the UK that day is slim.
Whilst it is currently good to soft, soft in places, areas of the track are impassable and temperatures could hit as low as -6C on Wednesday evening.
Race director Richard Fothergill said: “We had a cold night and although it’s warmed up now we have some areas of the track that are still not passable.
“There will be some clear skies on Wednesday which gives us some optimism but we probably won’t continue as we have a bit of a cold unless the forecast is wrong.”
Concerned Ffos Las and Chelmsford Call Thursday Inspections
Meet on Thursday at Ffos Las must pass an inspection at 7.30 a.m. on the day of the race, as heavy night frost is to be feared on Wednesday.
Conditions at the Welsh circuit will be assessed in the morning, with temperatures expected to drop to as low as -5C overnight before the seven-race card starts at 12.38pm, although temperatures could climb to 4C during the day.
Ffos Las could be the first course to host a Jumps match in the UK since Southwell on Sunday. Exeters Thursday’s session has already been frozen.
“We called to check because last night it got a little colder than we thought it was, and it was the same at dawn,” said course instructor Dai Jones.
“The frost covers underneath have done a great job but we could drop to -3C to -5C on Wednesday evening and that worries us.”
The ground at Ffos Las is officially good and the ground was described as good and passable on Wednesday.
Chelmsford must also survive a 7.30am inspection on race day, with severe frost and freezing temperatures expected on the track overnight.
The Essex circuit is running normally at the moment, but the track is covered in light snow and temperatures could drop to -6C on Wednesday evening.
Thursdays another all-weather meeting at southwell is currently running as planned and business as usual at the Nottinghamshire circuit.
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FIRST PUBLICATION ON DECEMBER 13, 2022 AT 7:44 AM