Haydock to inspect at 8am on Thursday as prospects fade for Saturday card
Haydock officials are being "realistic" about the chances of the Saturday card passing an 8am inspection tomorrow, with the course currently waterlogged in places.
The Merseyside track, which is due to stage four Grade 2s including the possible return of dual Champion Hurdle winner Buveur D'Air, has had a deluge over the past couple of days, with 40mm of rain falling throughout Monday and Tuesday.
A further 20mm is expected to fall on Wednesday and with showers forecast for Thursday and Friday as well as sub-zero temperatures on Friday night, officials will assess the prospects for the Saturday card tomorrow morning.
Clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright said: "You have to be realistic about these things, and even the most optimistic of clerks wouldn't be positive on this one. We've had 55mm over the last of couple of days and today is forecast to be another very wet day and thereafter.
"Places of the track are waterlogged now, but we want to see where we are tomorrow morning and we'll go from there."
However, officials at Ascot are more optimistic the course's Saturday card featuring the Grade 1 Clarence House Chase, will beat the elements.
"We had 1.2mm of rain overnight and 2mm yesterday so there's no change to the ground at this stage," clerk of the course Chris Stickels said.
"It's raining this morning and we're forecast between 12-15mm up to Thursday night, but after that it clears up. It's forecast to get a bit colder on Friday and we may have an overnight frost on raceday morning. I would have thought the ground will be soft, heavy in places if we have the full 15mm in the next couple of days."
The arrival of Storm Christoph is expected to cause further disruption to meetings across Britain and Ffos Las will have a second inspection at 8.30am on Thursday for its scheduled fixture on Friday.
The Carmarthenshire track had nearly double the expected rainfall it was predicted to receive on Tuesday and the prospect of racing taking place looked bleak.
However, following a first inspection on Wednesday afternoon, track officials have opted to take another look on Thursday due to a slight improvement in conditions and a better overnight forecast.
Clerk of the course Dai Jones said: "The conditions have improved marginally over the day and the forecast overnight is a little bit better, as the real wet weather is expected to be more inland than where we are. We shouldn't be getting what the forecast predicted earlier on.
"We had a fair bit of wind today that took some of the surface water away, so we thought we'll have a look in the morning to give it every chance it can, but still make a decision before [Saturday] declarations close so trainers and jockeys can cover themselves and declare somewhere else with time in hand.
"The track is in great nick and has a lovely grass covering, most of the hurdle track is on fresh ground but a couple of places had areas of standing water. That has cleared up a fair bit during the day even though we had some rain.
"Hopefully the forecast is right and we don't get a big downpour overnight. The only worry is 15 miles inland from us there's a warning in Carmarthenshire of flooding overnight, but it's supposed to be dry for the rest of Thursday and Friday at the track. Fingers crossed the weather looks after us a little bit."
Ludlow's Thursday fixture must also pass an inspection on the morning of racing at 7.30am.
The going is reported as heavy, soft in places on the hurdle track and soft on the chase course. Speaking on Wednesday afternoon, clerk of the course Simon Sherwood said: “I walked it this afternoon and we’d be fine. We’ve had about 12-13mm today and we’re still due more through the night, I think it’s due to stop around 11 or 12pm tonight and then it’s dry after that.
“My concern is when you look at Storm Christoph coming across, in some places it looks as though you’re going to get a deluge and in other places you might not get too much. I just thought I’d have a precautionary inspection at 7.30 – hopefully I’ll be able to tell before that – in case we have more than what is forecast. I’m pretty confident it should be fine.”
The BHA has announced an additional Flat fixture at Chelmsford on Monday, January 25, as well as one additional race at each of Wolverhampton's fixture on January 26 and 29.
Weather prospects for the week's action in Britain
Heavy, soft in places, soft on the chase course, inspection 7.30am Thursday
Standard to slow
Heavy, marginally unraceable, second inspection 8.30am Thursday
Soft, good to soft in places
Heavy, waterlogged in places, inspection 8am Thursday
Standard to slow
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