Fairyhouse chief defends decision to run Wednesday's lost card next month
Fairyhouse manager Peter Roe has defended the decision to cancel Wednesday's fixture as well as the date chosen by Horse Racing Ireland for the rescheduled meeting at the track, almost a month later on February 14.
After the course was deemed unfit for racing due to overnight snow, Denis Hogan, among other trainers, took to social media to vent their frustration over the length of time between the original and rescheduled meeting and questioned why HRI didn't try to run the card elsewhere.
Hogan said on Thursday: "Fair enough, the meeting was called off, but for HRI not to reschedule the card this week, be it at Fairyhouse or another track that was suitable for racing, it's just so frustrating.
"We've had no National Hunt racing all week. I'm sure we could have run the card somewhere else if Fairyhouse couldn't stage it.
"The end result isn't satisfactory because who's to say the horses we were going to run on Wednesday will be ready to run again in a month's time? It's very annoying, more so for the owner than anyone else.
"It wasn't a quality card and, while it wouldn't have received a massive attendance, these are the types of owners we need to facilitate as there aren't too many other opportunities for some of the horses that were declared. Maybe there would have been a quicker turnaround had this been a better card."
Roe argues Fairyhouse would have been in no shape to stage the meeting 24 hours later and cited the fear of having to cancel again as the main reason why the meeting wasn't rescheduled for next week.
He said on Thursday: "We had snow on the course until yesterday afternoon followed by 10mm of rain so there was no way we could have raced today.
"The forecast for the next week is quite bad and we didn't want to face the prospect of having to cancel again. We also have two meetings scheduled here – January 27 and February 7 – between now and February 14.
"Also, the race programmes for Down Royal [January 30] and Punchestown [January 31] are quite similar to our rescheduled meeting. For those reasons, and following discussions with HRI, we decided on February 14 as the best date for the rescheduled card."
Despite his frustrations, Hogan acknowledged the positive changes HRI have made throughout the past year, and added: "I think this meeting didn't get much of a chance, and maybe they called it off too early, but in the grand scheme of things HRI have brought in some fantastic initiatives throughout the past season.
"The opportunity maiden hurdles and the general conditions of races has improved. It's been good to see."