Frost is again a worry


FROST is once again threatening to ruin the St Stephen's Day racing programme in Britain. The forecast of sub-zero temperatures over the next few days throws into doubt the possibility of all II meetings being staged.

The loss of fixtures would be a serious blow after the complete wipe-out on the same day 12 months ago. The British Horseracing Board has already sanctioned an all-weather fixture at Lingfield in case all 10 jump meetings fall victim to the weather.

Kempton is expecting frosts every night in the run-up to the Pertemps King George VI meeting. "At present the course is raceable but there's a piercing wind which is making it seem very cold," said clerk of the course Peter McNeile.

"Temperatures will be below zero every night and frost is expected on Christmas Day. If the frost does get into the ground we could have a bit of a problem."If racing goes ahead, the ground is expected to be good.

Market Rasen, one of the other courses scheduled to race on St Stephen's Day, is barely fit at present. Clerk of the course Charlie Moore said yesterday: "We would just be able to race today but we wouldn't have yesterday. You would have to be a madman to be confident that the meeting would go ahead given what could happen but I am hopeful.

"We have got a frost forecast for every night but at the moment the grass is holding up and we have moved the fences and the hurdles in the straight so we will be racing on new ground."

Wetherby, which features the Rowland Meyrick Chase, was hit by a severe frost on Saturday night but the ground is reported to be soft at present.