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Frozen Ascot and Taunton call off Saturday fixtures

Ascot: frozen and temperatures are set to stay low
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Racing at Ascot and Taunton has been called off on Saturday with both courses found to be frozen in places during morning inspections.

Ascot, where the Grade 1 Berkshire Community Foundation Clarence House Chase had been set to take place, fell to the weather at 6.30am and Taunton was also cancelled with temperatures below freezing.

Frost covers had been used at both courses but at Ascot the temperature dropped to -3C overnight, while it was -4C at Taunton when the track abandoned the fixture before the scheduled 9.30am inspection. 

Chris Stickels, clerk of the course at Ascot, said at 6.30am: "It's -3C now and it will get colder when dawn arrives as it tends to do.

"With the course frozen in places and temperatures not due to get very high at all we had no chance unfortunately."

The message was similar at Taunton with clerk of the course Jason Loosemore posting on Facebook: "Racing has been abandoned today. Temperatures down to -4.5C overnight and currently -4C.

"Temps only to rise to 0C by 11am and improve to a high of 3C by 2pm today so no chance of a thaw in time for racing. "

With Ascot falling to the weather, there is now the prospect of the Clarence House Chase being saved and moved to Cheltenham next Saturday by the BHA.

BHA media manager Robin Mounsey said on Friday that a decision to reschedule would be made "as soon as possible" and that a new race would have fresh entries.

While Ascot and Taunton are off, there are no reported problems at Haydock, Lingfield, Newcastle or Navan on Saturday.

We had no chance unfortunately

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