Snow has meant all-weather racing has been the only action on offerPICTURE: Edward Whitaker/racingpostpix.com
Musselburgh offers hope for return of jump action
MUSSELBURGH has offered a glimmer of hope that racing can resume on turf at the end of the week as general manager Bill Farnsworth disclosed he would ask to postpone Friday's card and race over the weekend if the track needed more time to thaw out.
Farnsworth has pinned his hopes on a significant rise in temperatures in Scotland from Monday though his optimism is not shared around the rest of Britain as the Met Office forecast further snow would sweep England and Wales and predicted the cold snap could stretch as far as the end of the month.
Monday, January 18 and Thursday, January 21 are 2-1 joint favourites to stage the next day's jumps action in Betfair's market but Farnsworth believes a thaw could start north of the border before then.
Bill Farnsworth: considering movePICTURE: John Grossick
"There is a glimmer of hope as temperatures are set to improve fromMonday to possibly 5°C during the day and if we got that we could see things moving, it's just a question of whether it happened quick enough," he said.
"I might ask the BHA if we could postpone the meeting to Saturday or Sunday if we don't think the track will be quite ready on Friday.
"I could also ask if they could give us a replacement fixture and make it twodays but that might cause stabling problems as we would anticipate getting maximum fields. We have options."
The forecast for the week prompted Kempton's clerk of the course Barney Clifford to call an early inspection of its jumps track as there is "no thaw predicted even on the long range forecast for the next 10 days," he said. "We need to put plans in place and decide if we need to transfer to the all-weather or not."
Outlining the weather prospects for the week ahead a Met Office spokesman said: "There is a bit more snow on the way, especially for England and Wales. Snow showers in the south east will get a bit more persistent and develop more or less across England and Wales tonight and tomorrow. It doesn't look like that will necessarily stop and could still be going on Monday. The other factor is it looks like staying pretty cold with temperatures below freezing.
"Looking through Tuesday there is still a chance of a bit more snow and on Wednesday another weather system comes in from the Atlantic and when that hits the cold air it could produce more snow.
"Even looking at a longer outlook there are some signs that it could be slowly warming up towards the end of the month, butit will be a slow warm-up so I wouldn't even be massively optimistic [of a resumption] even from the outlook."
Find out what the prospects are for forthcoming fixtures in Britain and Ireland with our at-a-glance table