Courses braced for low temperatures with snow sweeping in from Monday
Additional all-weather fixture at Wolverhampton on Wednesday
The Met Office has issued a yellow weather warning for snow in south east England that will be in force from Monday afternoon until midnight Tuesday and that could cause problems for several fixtures next week.
The BHA has scheduled a third additional all-weather fixture for Wolverhampton on Wednesday afternoon after the earlier decision to race at Lingfield on Monday and Chelmsford on Tuesday.
The Met Office warning is for snow flurries on Monday afternoon and heavier falls on Tuesday, while the concern for many tracks continues to be the freezing temperatures and associated frost.
Both Newcastle and Kempton are confident of beating the frost on Saturday.
Kempton clerk of the course Barney Clifford said on Friday evening: "The beauty of working for the Jockey Club is its investment in frost covers. It was perfectly raceable under the covers this morning and has been all day. The ground feels more good than good to soft but it’s hard to predict as historically it can ride a little dead when they’ve been down.
"The forecast overnight is for an air temperature of -3C and a ground temperature of -5C. I don’t anticipate any problems."
Fontwell is due to stage its biggest card of the year on Sunday, featuring the Grade 2 totepool National Spirit Hurdle.
The track has fleece down in vulnerable areas but clerk of the course Tracey O'Meara said: "If the weather goes with us we should be okay. I spoke to our forecasters and they’re saying we will get down to -2C or -3C overnight.
"It should be bright early on but the temperatures aren’t going to get too high during the day, so it's just a matter of waiting to see if the weather is with us or against us."
The fate of jump racing in the first half of the week remains uncertain, with the weather front coming in on cold north-easterly winds and many of the fixtures – notably Plumpton, Catterick, Leicester, Musselburgh and Market Rasen – on the vulnerable eastern side of the country.
The problem is not confined to Britain, with France Galop having taken the unusual step of cancelling Auteuil's opening card of the year next Tuesday in anticipation of freezing temperatures caused by the "Moscou-Paris" wind.
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