Newcastle calls Saturday inspection as frost threatens Fighting Fifth meeting
Newcastle officials have called an inspection for 8am on Saturday as frost threatens to scupper the Fighting Fifth meeting.
The track has been hit by heavy rain in the build-up to its only Grade 1 raceday, which is due to feature Buveur D'Air's hat-trick bid in the big race, but it is forecast temperatures of -2C to -4C.
Clerk of the course James Armstrong, speaking on Friday morning, said: "We're very heavy but we can deal with that, it's more the forecast frost that is causing concern.
"We've covered the entire track with fleece and it just hinges on how cold it gets and when temperatures dropped below zero, which could be 7pm through to 9-10am.
"That doesn't give us a lot of room with an early start at 11.45am and we've also got to get the fleece off the track, which is quite time consuming. If needs be we'll look again if 8am proves inconclusive.
"The good thing is the track has got a good cover of grass and that will act as a good insulator. We've got to hope for a bit of cloud cover tonight and that the temperatures don't dip as low as forecast."
INSPECTION 8am Sat @NewcastleRaces ahead of @BetfairRacing ‘Fighting Fifth’ Hurdle race day due to f’cast cold overnight temps. Could see temps dropping below 0c from 8pm this eve till after 9am Sat. Lows of possibly -2/-4c forecast. Course covered & Going remains HEAVY pic.twitter.com/rmkCwUi4rh— James Armstrong (@JRFArmstrong) November 29, 2019
The one guarantee is that the ground will be heavy, as Armstrong said: "It will be particularly testing, it's as wet as I've seen it for a long time at this time of year.
"It's heavy ground but luckily we've only had one meeting on it and it's not where it could have been – if we'd had another meeting we'd be struggling.
"All the hurdles have been moved to new sites and all the bends have been moved on to fresh ground."
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