Newbury hoping course covers can help beat cold snap for big Saturday meeting

Wednesday’s Fairyhouse card called off due to waterlogged track

Officials at Newbury have covered the entire course in a bid to give Saturday's meeting every chance of beating the freezing weather.

Clerk of the course Keith Ottesen was happy with the state of the track on Monday and reported the ground to be soft as they prepare for arctic conditions.

“We’ve covered the track. It’s a big job. We put them down on Sunday and we’re just finishing off in a few places today,” said Ottesen. “It’s quite cold. We’re all right today, it’s soft ground.

“The forecast is for it to be very cold all week. We’ll just keep an eye on it and hope for the best. We will monitor it closely all week. We’ve done what we can and we’ll hope for the best.”

Saturday is one of Newbury's biggest meetings of the winter, featuring the Betfair Hurdle, the Betfair Denman Chase and the Betfair Cheltenham Free Bet Pot Builder Chase, registered as the Game Spirit.

The week began on a cold note with Monday’s scheduled jumps meetings at Plumpton and Carlisle both abandoned after failing early-morning inspections. The course at Carlisle was frozen, with the frost at Plumpton compounded by a covering of snow.

The Monday card at Fairyhouse did pass its morning inspection but it was announced at the same time that Wednesday’s scheduled meeting there will not take place, because the inside track set to be used then is waterlogged.

Tuesday’s jumps meeting at Market Rasen has been abandoned due to snow following an inspection on Monday.

Ludlow’s jumps fixture on Wednesday is subject to an inspection at 11am on Tuesday because of frosts in the forecast and wind chill. The course was raceable on Monday.

Doncaster’s jumps meeting on Thursday is in doubt. Officials will look at the course at 8am on Tuesday as the track is currently unraceable. It is waterlogged with standing water in places and a light covering of snow.

A partly-flooded course has resulted in the meeting at Huntingdon on Thursday being washed away. The Alconbury Brook has burst its banks and areas of the home straight are flooded. Inevitably, the fixture was abandoned following an inspection at 4pm on Monday.

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