Hopes high for racing on Sunday and Monday ahead of forecast snow
Jumps meetings on Sunday and Monday were hopeful of beating the big freeze and forecast snow before it arrives in force.
Southwell and Fontwell were expecting to be fine for Sunday's jump meetings while Plumpton and Ayr, due to race on Monday, have also covers down and were both raceable on Saturday.
Roderick Duncan, clerk of the course at Southwell, where the whole course has been covered, said on Saturday: "We didn't get the forecast frost last night and tonight's forecast has improved a bit so we are fairly comfortable ahead of racing."
Both Ayr and Plumpton have worsening forecasts but they remain hopeful, with Plumpton fully covered and clerk of the course Mark Cornford ready to lift them at the last moment if meteorologists are right.
"Monday is forecast to be just 1C but, with a windchill making it sub-zero, we wouldn't take the covers off until the last minute and the threat of snow currently is after racing and into Tuesday."
Saturday night is forecast to be -3C with Sunday temperatures up to plus three before another frost but Cornford reports the ground under the covers to be frost free and expects the going will be good to soft with the soft places disappearing.
Ayr was relatively basking over Saturday lunchtime with 6C on the thermometer after an overnight frost.
Clerk of the course Graeme Anderson said: "We covered the track on Thursday and were raceable by midday so with a relatively late start on Monday at 2.15pm we would be hopeful.
"We are forecast -3C overnight and again on Sunday into Monday but don't need it to be two or three degrees lower than that."
The Met Office midweek forecast carries yellow warnings into Tuesday, reporting: "Staying bitterly cold, with scattered snow showers and overnight sharp frosts. Snow showers will be heavy at times, especially in the east, leading to the risk of disruption in places."
The BHA has scheduled a third additional all-weather fixture for Wolverhampton on Wednesday afternoon after adding Lingfield on Monday and Chelmsford on Tuesday, when jumps racing at Catterick and Leicester is scheduled.
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