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Newcastle racecourse frozen

Newcastle: course is frozen in odd place following freezing night

  PICTURE: John Grossick (  

Newcastle's Fighting Fifth card under threat

NEWCASTLE'S card on Saturday, which features the Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle, was on Friday morning rated as "fifty-fifty," by clerk of the course James Armstrong, following temperatures dropping well below freezing overnight.

The ground is described as soft, heavy in places, but there are now odd frozen patches, with temperatures falling below zero from 9pm on Thursday evening.

Armstrong said at 8.30am: "We were dry overnight, with very clear skies. Temperatures dropped below freezing and got as low as -4C half an hour ago, and the frost has got into the odd exposed bits of soil.

"During the daytime temperatures are set to rise to 3C, which is not that helpful, but the clear skies should help now although they didn't last night. There are mixed reports for tonight. We could get some cloud with light rain from the east coast which would be preferable, and temperatures would stay around zero.

"Or the cloud could stay away and temperatures would fall away again in which case we could struggle.

"We will monitor things closely and if there is the need to inspect we will announce later. I'd say it's fifty-fifty and hinges on tonight."

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