‘Every chance’ of Navan racing on Thursday
Thurles meeting due to take place same day in doubt with organisers ‘playing it by ear’
The racing programme has been decimated by the recent Siberian weather conditions and is not scheduled to resume until Thursday with two meetings due to be run. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho
Navan’s rescheduled fixture on Thursday could be Irish racing’s best bet for a return to action this week.
The racing programme has been decimated by the recent Siberian weather conditions and is not scheduled to resume until Thursday with two meetings due to be run.
Thurles was the original fixture for that day and it has been joined by the Navan card switched from Saturday.
Both tracks were covered with snow on Sunday but Navan’s clerk of the course, Paddy Graffin, believes there is “every chance” of racing going ahead there.
“There is a snow covering but it’s not so much the covering as where the snow has drifted that we have to consider. There are things such as the ambulance road that we have to look at and if snow has drifted there,” he said.
“It all comes down to getting the snow off. Pushing it out to Thursday gives it every opportunity to thaw. There’s 3 to 4ml of rain forecast too which should help so I think we have every chance of racing,” he added.
The Thurles manager, Kate Molony, said a thaw had begun on Sunday but stressed officials would be “playing it by ear” during the week.
“We’re starting to see bits of grass but like everyone else we’re probably going to be saturated with the thaw. The night-time temperatures are supposed to be sub-zero too all week so we will be playing it by ear.
“I am fairly concerned. When it thaws it’s what’s left behind that could be a problem. We have terrific drainage here but like everyone else we just don’t know at this stage,” she said.
A rescheduled Leopardstown card joins a Dundalk all-weather fixture for Friday while Gowran is due to race on Saturday with Naas on Sunday.
Leopardstown’s clerk of the course, Lorcan Wyer, said the Dublin track escaped relatively lightly in terms of snow but added it was too early to predict what conditions will be like later this week.
“It remains to be seen with any turf course how testing conditions will be after things thaw,” he said.
The Irish Racehorse Trainers’ Association has warned Horse Racing Ireland against not scheduling too much racing on the back of the freezing weather conditions.
“I don’t think they should put too many fixtures on because how many horses will be ready to run. A lot of them would be lucky to have been on a walker since Wednesday,” said the IRTA chief executive, Michael Grassick.
“Trainers can’t really do anything else except sit and wait. Snow gathered on any sort of hedge or rail on a gallop. There are drifts of up to four or five feet so a lot of people are just waiting to see what they can do,” he added.
Jump racing could resume in Britain on Monday with Lingfield set for a 7.30 morning inspection of its National Hunt track.
“There’s been a big improvement in the last 24 hours but we do need it to improve again. We had 3ml of rain on Saturday which helped. If we get a few more showers that would be good although we don’t want too much rain as the ground is already heavy,” said a spokesman.
Tuesday’s jumps fixture at Newcastle must pass an 8.00 inspection on Monday morning and Exeter also holds an inspection at the same time ahead of its Tuesday card.