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Sandown - covers - Jan 09 - Edward Whitaker

Sandown: covers could not stop Tolworth meeting being lost

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

Tracks admit that covers are not 'magic solution'

A GROWING acceptance of the limitation of frost covers to cope with sub-zero temperatures became apparent on Tuesday when Ascot, Cheltenham and Sandown all admitted that the blankets do not provide the sport with a "magic solution" to beat freezing conditions.

The racecourse comments came just days after Sandown was forced to abandon its Tolworth Hurdle fixture after a -6C chill penetrated covers that had been placed one day earlier on a racecourse that was entirely free of frost and raceable.

That disappointment, allied to the prohibitive cost of £20,000 to cover a track, were two of the factors that dissuaded Sandown's owner Jockey Club Racecourses from protecting Warwick in the build-up to the venue's showpiece meeting on Saturday.

Speaking on Tuesday, Sandown clerk Andrew Cooper revealed that he, too, would be more cautious when making future decisions on the use of the covers, whose benefits are being assessed in a three-year-study by Cranfield University's Dr Mark Bartlett.

Read more in Wednesday's Racing Post - or buy the newspaper as a PDF


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