The first casualty of the freezing weather conditions in Ireland’s racing programme could be Thursday’s Clonmel fixture and prospects for the rest of the week here remain very uncertain.
With turf racing in Britain decimated, Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board officials expect to be able to update on Clonmel’s prospects ahead of declaration time on Wednesday morning.
The track is currently raceable but temperatures are predicted to get as low as minus six on Wednesday night - and expected to only just get above freezing the following day. So if Clonmel’s ground is frozen before declaration time there seems little chance of racing getting a green light.
"It's uncertain and in terms of snowfall Clonmel is expected to be at the lower end," said Lorcan Wyer, Clonmel's clerk of the course. "But temperatures are expected to drop to between minus three and minus six on Wednesday night, into Thursday morning. And then it's only supposed to go up to one or two degrees on Thursday itself.
“We will keep everyone updated ahead of declaration time on Wednesday morning so people know where they stand.”
Wyer is also clerk of the course at Leopardstown and said officials there have had predictions for up to a foot of snow in the coming days.
The south Co. Dublin course is scheduled to hold fixtures on Sunday and Monday. Gallop opportunities at Leopardstown for some of the leading Irish hopes going to Cheltenham could also be affected.
“The concern is that if it gets as cold as it is forecast to get, and depending on the amount of snow Leopardstown gets, we could need it to get up to plus six or seven degrees to rectify things,” Wyer added.
“There may be a small window on Sunday when temperatures rise a bit. But it looks a small window at this stage.”
Dundalk’s all-weather track is expected to be raceable on Friday night after the worst of the expected snowfall has finished. However travel to and from the course could yet be an issue depending on the overall impact of ‘Storm Emma.’
Jump racing is scheduled for Navan on Saturday where the Grade Three Flyingbolt Novice Chase is the feature event. Officials there continue to monitor the weather outlook.
In Britain there will be no racing on turf until Friday at the earliest. Wednesday’s Mussleburgh card has been cancelled, as has Ludlow on Thursday. There will be all-weather cards at Newcastle and Wolverhampton on Wednesday.
Doncaster and Newbury are each due to begin two day fixtures on Friday but there is a threat to both from snow and freezing conditions.
Wednesday: Market Rasen (cancelled). Musselburgh (cancelled). Wincanton (cancelled.) A/W Racing at Newcastle and Wolverhampton.
Thursday: Clonmel (currently raceable.) A/W Racing at Newcastle and Kempton. Ludlow (cancelled.) Taunton (cancelled.)
Friday: Dundalk (standard.) A/W Racing at Southwell, Chelmsford and Lingfield. Newbury (soft.) Doncaster (good.)
Saturday: Navan (soft) A/W Racing at Chelmsford, Lingfield and Newcastle. Doncaster (good) Kelso (soft) Newbury (soft)