Snow and frost forecast prompts inspections in Britain and Ireland
Inspections have been called for three of the four jumps meetings in Britain on Saturday and the only fixture in Ireland in the face of the most threatening cold blast of the winter so far.
Despite guarded optimism for the Becher Chase meeting and Tingle Creek card, potential snow has triggered an 8.30 inspection at Aintree, while officials will gather at Sandown at 8am to check Sandown has survived an overnight frost.
Dropping temperatures have also resulted in the calling of 8am inspections at Chepstow, where the ground is heavy, and Navan.
Aintree clerk of the course Andrew Tulloch said: "We are going to have an inspection at 8.30, which I think will be purely precautionary. The track is raceable but the forecast is for a couple more snow flurries during the night and tomorrow morning, mixed with some showers as well.
"We had rain today and a snow flurry from which you would be pushed even to get a snowball off the car. I would be quietly optimistic.
"We have fleeced up, and covered the vulnerable points, but I don't think frost will be a factor, it is more the snow looking at the forecast. The Met Office has suggested we could have a centimetre or two."
Sandown was covered up before racing went ahead on Friday after which the whole track was recovered, a three-hour process completed by groundstaff working in the dark.
Clerk of the course Andrew Cooper said: "I have called an inspection because of the uncertainties. We are going to be covered. We are forecast a sharpish frost, with -3C the lowest temperature suggested and it is probably going to be cold into the early part of the morning so we may not be able to lift the covers straight away.
"It is sensible we take stock of what the night has done and the overall situation here. I think it will start getting above freezing about 9am. I would be optimistic for racing."
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