Freezing weather puts an end to racing at Winter Million meeting at Lingfield

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Prospects had looked bleak earlier in the week and Friday's scheduled card, the first of the three-day Winter Million meeting, was called off a long way in advance. However, a thaw towards the end of the week, particularly on Saturday which enabled the course to become raceable, raised hopes the valuable fixture featuring the Fluer Du Lys Chase would be able to take place. Forecasts ranged from between minus 1C and minus 4C with clerk of the course George Hill confessing it would need to be towards the lower end to stand any chance. Unfortunately temperatures reached a bitter minus 5C on course and the efforts of up to 50 people in covering up the course with frost sheets went to waste with the meeting called of long before a scheduled 8am precautionary inspection. Hill tweeted: "***RACING ABANDONED*** (Sun 22 Jan). Currently -5C, inspection brought forward as currently frozen in places with no signs of improvement with the forecast. Despite our best efforts, the weather has beaten us." It means there has been no racing on turf in the UK since Hereford on Monday but Navan did manage to race on Saturday in Ireland and racing is due to take place at Thurles on Sunday. There was also bad news from Market Rasen who abandoned their meeting on Friday, set to feature the Listed Alan Swinbank Mares' Open National Flat race, but swiftly rearranged for Tuesday. However, much colder temperatures than forecast over the weekend has meant there has been no discernible improvement in the track and early on Sunday morning Tuesday's fixture was also abandoned. The going report read: "Following a second consecutive night of un-forecast -5C the track now has significant areas of frozen ground, including under the frost covers. Original forecast for improved conditions has not materialised and therefore no prospect of the ground thawing before racing." Exeter's meeting on Tuesday must survive a 4pm inspection on Monday while Leicester will inspect at 3.30pm on Monday for their meeting on the same day following successive minus 5C nights over the weekend.

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