Ground conditions force Exeter to pull plug on Thursday meeting
Exeter has been forced to cancel Thursday’s jumps meeting after only 4mm of rain fell at the course on Saturday morning, insufficient to soften the ground that is officially firm and hard in places.
Clerk of the course Barry Johnson told the Racing Post on Saturday: “Unfortunately we've been forced to call off next Thursday’s first meeting of the new term as ground conditions remain very fast, even after some rain this morning.
“We only had 4mm which was never going to be enough to change the very fast conditions and, with no more forecast over the next four or five days, we were left with little choice.”
There had been speculation that Exeter’s card could be rescheduled elsewhere, but Johnson added: “There's simply nowhere for the meeting to go as Warwick only raced this week on Thursday and couldn't take the meeting. Everywhere in the south-west of the country is facing the same problem.”
Exeter's abandonment comes hot on the heels of the decision by the Irish racing authorities to call off Thurles on the same afternoon as jump racing begins to count the cost of the summer heatwave.
As reported in September, Exeter is not the only course in the south-west beleaguered with hard ground conditions as Wincanton and Taunton both badly need rain to stage meetings later this month.
Only a fraction of the rainfall generally expected over the summer and autumn months has actually materialized in that part of the country and Johnson, who also officiates as clerk at Wincanton, said: "It's a very similar story and if we don't get the rain, we'll not be able to race."
Ludlow good to go
However, Ludlow have reported no problems ahead of their first meeting of the autumn next Wednesday where ground conditions at present are officially 'good to firm'.
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