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High winds and rain cause concern for Newcastle's Fighting Fifth fixture

Newcastle: amber weather warning for high winds is in place
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High winds forecast overnight and through Saturday morning are causing concern for officials at Newcastle ahead of Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle day.

An amber weather warning is in place at the north-east track with gusts expected to reach up to 80mph on Friday night and continuing at 45-50mph on Saturday morning.

Anywhere from 10mm to 25mm of rain could fall overnight on ground officially described on Friday as good, good to soft in places.

The Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle (3.15) concludes a seven-race card with racing set to get under way at 11.45am, and clerk of the course James Armstrong says he will keep all parties aware of the weather situation throughout the morning.

Armstrong said: "We're on an amber weather warning for wind tonight and on the coast, which isn't that far away, there is a red weather warning.

"We're battening down the hatches tonight knowing we could see 80mph-plus winds and they aren't forecast to relent much lower than 45-50mph tomorrow morning. We'll just have to monitor the situation in the morning and see what happens.

"We could see an inch of rain – maybe more, maybe less – but we just have to wait and see on that front. We'll probably ease the ground from what we are now."

Asked how the winds may affect racing, Armstrong said: "It all depends on the direction of the wind as well as gusting. If you have a steady wind it can be manageable but when you start getting gusts that can create problems for horses and jockeys jumping obstacles at speed.

"There are no set parameters for us to work to, we just have to monitor the situation and involve those participating. It may be a watching brief to see how things develop as the morning goes on and we'll keep everyone posted."

Conditions will not be as extreme at Newbury for its seven-race card headlined by the Ladbrokes Trophy (3.00) and clerk of the course Keith Ottesen is not expecting a change in ground conditions from good to soft, good in places.

He said: "From midnight there could be some rain and sleet and it has turned cold, while the wind will pick up. We're not without the chance of a shower, but not huge amounts of rain. The forecast is uncertain and unsettled as there's a massive low-pressure system just off the east of the country and we're right on the western edge of it.

"Fingers crossed we don't get the worst of it, but it might be a bit blowy. You might have to hold on to your cap, but other than that we'll be fine and I think we'll start on the going as it is [good to soft, good in places]."

Saturday's race previews:

1.15 Newbury: Killer Clown could have the last laugh for Emma Lavelle against McManus trio

2.05 Newcastle: Sandy Thomson looks to stable star as he seeks Rehearsal Chase repeat

2.25 Newbury: 'There'll be no excuses' – Jonjo O'Neill on hot favourite Soaring Glory

3.00 Newbury: trainers and jockeys on their Ladbrokes Trophy contenders at Newbury

3.15 Newcastle: will Epatante be ready for take-off again? Graeme Rodway on the Fighting Fifth

3.35 Newbury: who has the touch of class required? Analysis and key quotes for two-mile chase

Fairyhouse: can anything follow in the footsteps of Monkfish in the early opener?

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We could see 80mph-plus winds and they aren't forecast to relent much lower than 45-50mph tomorrow morning

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