Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jumps Decimated by Heavy Cold Snap

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Jumps Decimated by Heavy Cold Snap

Article excerpt

NATIONAL Hunt racing was decimated over the weekend with three meetings called off well in advance, while Haydock Park fell victim to the cold snap just 30 minutes before their Tommy Whittle card was due to start.

Saturday's big-race fixture at Ascot was abandoned on Friday morning, while Newcastle went just hours later and officials at Carlisle pulled the plug 24 hours before their programme scheduled for Sunday.

Haydock had offered the one ray of light and passed their 8am check on Saturday, only for temperatures to stay hovering around freezing forcing a noon inspection.

A deputation of trainers and jockeys carefully analysed conditions and found the course to be unsafe to stage the sevenrace card.

Managing director Dickon White explained: "We had the covers down on Tuesday morning but unfortunately when the covers came off the ground was still frozen. It's always difficult and we try to keep people informed as to what's happening - the public, trainers and jockeys.

"I think we did everything possible to get this meeting on and the elements went against us.

"The forecast was for it to get above freezing. It hasn't done that and it is a difficult situation.

"I think we would have done exactly the same, but we will do a full review of this as we do everytime and we will have a full investigation.

"The ground staff have done a great job but conditions have gone against us."

Champion jockey Tony McCoy agreed with the decision to abandon, and said: "The fences are frozen and as far as the ground is concerned it's debatable whether they should have raced or not, but I think they have done the right thing."

Ireland managed to squeeze in a handful of hurdle races at Navan on Saturday and Thurles on Sunday, but the main action came on the all-weather at Lingfield where Tom Queally capped his breakthrough season. …

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