Frosty start: Musselburgh could provide first jumps action on WednesdayPICTURE: EDWARD WHITAKER
Cold snap takes its toll on jumps cards
MUSSELBURGH could come to the rescue of race-starved British jumps fans with Wednesday's meeting possibly providing the first action in another week when the current cold spell is expected to take its toll.
The general forecast looks gloomy with the south east quarter of England expected to be the chief sufferer.
Bill Farnsworth, general manager at Musselburgh, said: "Based on the forecast we have been given I would be pretty hopeful. We would have been raceable on Sunday and we have got a bit of rain at the moment."
A Met Office spokesman said: "On Monday there is likely to be widespread ice across the south east of England and on Monday night it will be very cold temperatures down to -2C and maybe -8C in some places.
"The higher temperatures will be in Scotland on Tuesday with a maximum between Glasgow and Edinburgh of between 4-5C. Later in the week it will stay dry and cold in England and Wales but not as cold as earlier in the week."
Fontwell offer little chance of respite in the south on Wednesday with an inspection likely on Tuesday.
Clerk of thecourse Ed Arkell said: "It was down to -8C on Saturday night and the frost covers are in place but if the forecast is correct we will inspect on Tuesday at some stage."
Catterick and Hereford on Thursday do not look likely to provide jump fans with any morsels either.
Fiona Needham, clerk of the course at Catterick, said: "We are unraceable at the moment and the forecast doesn't look promising, We haven't decided when we will inspect."
That view was echoed by her counterpart at Hereford Katie Stephens, who said: "It looks pretty bleak and we are frozen at the moment. It has got a lot more worse since New Year'sDay and the forecast is for more of the same - prospects look pretty slim."
Should the Blue Square-sponsored Tolworth Hurdle - lost when Sandown was abandoned - be rescheduled for Saturday, Kempton sponsors William Hill said they would have no objection to the race being staged there.