Frozen Wincanton cancelled as Exeter calls inspection
Thursday's meeting at Wincanton has been called off because of frozen ground and with similar concerns at Exeter, the Devon track has arranged a morning inspection for Friday's fixture.
Temperatures got down to -7C overnight at Wincanton and there was little improvement at the 8am inspection, with the mercury showing -6C and the course draped in freezing fog.
Not long after the news of Wincanton, Exeter tweeted: "We have a precautionary inspection at 8am tomorrow. Going is good to soft, frozen in places. The forecast is for a thaw from 10am, with temperatures of -1C tonight."
David Bass had been scheduled to make his comeback from injury at Wincanton with two rides for trainer Kim Bailey and the jockey now switches to Leicester.
Bailey tweeted: "With @wincantonraces off David Bass reroutes to @LeicesterRaces to ride Braw Angus and Pulling Power."
Bass suffered a fractured cheekbone at Ascot 11 days ago and has been surprised by the speed of his recovery.
"The swelling came down fairly quickly and it’s all healed up quicker than I thought," he said. "It’s less than two weeks, but I don’t need my face to ride, luckily!
"It didn’t look pretty for a few days and was very swollen – it looked like I’d gone 12 rounds with Anthony Joshua. I saw a specialist who saw my vision was fine and the fractures are stable enough so it’s okay to ride."
Bass ready for Altior clash
The jockey had the option of heading to Aintree on Saturday to ride Grand National runner-up The Last Samuri in the Betfred Becher Chase, but hopes his decision to head to Sandown to partner Charbel in the Racing Post Henry VIII Novices’ Chase pays off.
The five-year-old was no match for big rival Altior in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last season, but made a smooth debut over fences at Uttoxeter in October – form franked by subsequent wins for the second and third.
"It was a very hard decision whether to go to Aintree or Sandown," Bass said. "We all discussed it, but it was my decision at the end of the day.
"Altior is going to be very hard to beat, but we think we’ve improved since Uttoxeter and have improved a hell of a lot from last year, so I’m quite looking forward to taking him on.
"Last year I kept saying Charbel would be better over fences, but we were still in two minds what to do with him this year. We decided to go chasing and I’m glad we did.
"It was good ground at Uttoxeter and I imagine it will be similar at Sandown, which won’t be a problem; his best form’s been on decent ground."