Weekend racing in UK at risk as temperatures drop

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Temperatures dropped as low as minus 6C on Monday night through to Tuesday morning and clerk of the course Chris Stickles has indicated a changing forecast suggests the cold weather may now extend into the weekend. He said: "The going remains soft, good to soft in places on the chase track and good to soft, soft in places on the hurdles course. We're obviously frozen on both courses in places this morning following minus 6C overnight and temperatures are still below freezing now. "The forecast now indicates that this cold spell could last into the weekend, so it has changed since yesterday. So that may present some challenges. "Temperatures aren't due to get much above 4C on any given day and we're still below freezing at the moment. Its not likely to get as cold as it did last night again currently, but although it's not forecast to get as cold as it did last night it does look like sub-zero temperatures each night. "We'll continue to monitor and update accordingly." The two-mile Grade One Clarence House Chase is due to feature Willie Mullins' Champion Chase hero Energumene against Alan King's Arkle winner Edwardstone. Haydock are also "50-50" to stage their Saturday fixture where the use of frost covers may not be enough to save the Peter Marsh Chase card. "I would say we are 50-50 realistically," said clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright. "We were minus 3C last night and we've got several more nights to get through. "Frost covers are down but they will have their work cut out on the worn ground. There is no sign of any sun today for instance. It's just above zero but we've got fog pretty much slowing down any thawing activity out there. "We'll just have to play it as it comes. We would very much like to race and will do everything we can." Freezing temperatures have already took their toll on the week's racing programme with Chepstow on Tuesday and Newbury on Wednesday abandoned due to frost although Clonmel's meeting in Ireland on Tuesday did survive an inspection Plumpton will stage a second inspection at 8.30am ahead of their meeting on Wednesday. Frost covers are down but it reached minus 6C on Monday night. However, Tuesday evening was not set to be as cold with -2C forecast and officials are hopeful of racing. Wincanton inspect at 8am on Thursday ahead of their Somerset National card later that day, while Lingfield's Winter Million meeting on Friday also looks in some doubt. The entire track was covered on Monday but it is frozen under the covers after a minus 6.7C last night. The going report states: "Highs of +1/+3C today. Cold spell continues with averaging -2/-5C overnight and day time highs of between +3/+5C. Will need some good luck from what the latest forecast states."

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