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Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Forecast frost and fog prompts inspection for Leopardstown card

Sizing John is due to line-up, weather permitting, at Leopardstown on Thursday
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Day three of the big festive meeting at Leopardstown on Thursday, due to feature a fascinating Grade 1 Christmas Chase clash between Sizing John, Yorkhill and Djakadam, is subject to a 7.30am inspection due to the prospect of overnight frost and fog.

Clerk of the course Lorcan Wyer said on Wednesday morning: "The temperature could drop to around -4C tonight and there is also the possibility of fog which might linger.

“At this stage the inspection is precautionary, and we'll just have to see what tonight brings."

The cold and wet weather, which forced the cancellation of Wednesday’s Coral Welsh Grand National meeting at Chepstow – waterlogged with some snow – could claim more victims in Britain on Thursday, with Leicester and Catterick having called morning inspections.

Leicester is currently covered in one to two inches of snow and, with the official going on the hurdles course already described as heavy, there is the obvious potential for waterlogging once the snow has melted.

Clerk of the course Jimmy Stevenson said: “It’s tricky. The course is currently covered in one to two inches of sleety snow, and we obviously need to get rid of that.

“However, there is a potential waterlogging issue when that’s gone, and then we could get some frost overnight too. We’ll take a look at 8am tomorrow.”

Catterick, where the ground is officially described as good to soft, good in places, will also take a look at 8am owing to the possibility of overnight frost, but prospects appear better than at Leicester.

Clerk of the course Fiona Needham remains upbeat, and said: “We’re perfectly raceable at the moment, and there are no issues. The inspection is precautionary as we’re forecast for temperatures to dip to -1C. We should be fine if that’s the case.”

She added: “We’re on the northern edge of the snow, and have just had a bit of sleet here.”

The other meeting scheduled in Britain on Thursday is the all-weather fixture at Lingfield where no problems are envisaged.

An inspection has been called at Kelso for 7am on Thursday to assess the prospects of Friday's card going ahead. Overnight frosts are forecast.

Doncaster, which also races on Friday, had snow on Wednesday morning, while the going for Saturday’s meetings at Newbury and Haydock is already described as heavy.

Sunday's meeting at Warwick is already in some doubt, with an inspection arranged for 8am on Friday.

There are currently areas of standing water on the course in addition to some snow.

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The temperature could drop to around -4C tonight and there is also the possibility of fog which might linger

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