Hopes rising for racing


PUNCHESTOWN'S rearranged fixture for tomorrow is subject to a 8.30 inspection this morning. Originally scheduled for Tuesday, the meeting was postponed owing to snow on the track.

Hopes were rising in Britain yesterday that jump racing will resume at Musselburgh tomorrow followed by Newcastle on Saturday.

Mark Kershaw, clerk of the course at Musselburgh said: "There is no frost in the ground and with temperatures set to fall no lower than 0 degrees Celsius over the next two nights and rise to 3 degrees Celsius during the day, there is a very good chance that racing will go ahead on Friday."

Gary Gardner, the head groundsman at Gosforth Park said: "It is looking all right at the moment. There is a little bit of snow on the beads but it is very, very's thin and I have put a harrow through it and broken it up.

"I've also put straw down at the jumps because they are talking about temperatures of -1 degrees Celsius tonight but at the moment we are very hopeful racing will go ahead.

But Ascot's valuable two day meeting scheduled for tomorrow and Saturday appears doubtful. With the ground frozen at the, Berkshire course, an inspection will be held at 8.00 this morning to determine prospects for racing tomorrow.

Today will be the 11th successive racing day with action confined to the all weather, this time at Lingfield.

The meeting at Wincanton became another victim of the cold snap when it was called off on Tuesday afternoon. And the fixture at Wetherby followed suit yesterday morning.

Course spokesman Graham Orange said: "We had no frost but there is still snow on the track and it is not warm enough for it to go. The forecast is for more of the same so there was no chance of racing.

Prospects for Saturday's other turf meeting at Warwick were also described as "pretty poor" yesterday. An inspection will be held at 3.00 p.m. today to determine whether racing will be possible at a fixture which has attracted numerous good class entries including champion hurdler Collier Bay.