Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Main Event Has a Fighting Chance

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Main Event Has a Fighting Chance

Article excerpt

NEWCASTLE officials remain optimistic they will be able to stage their biggest jumps meeting of the year on Saturday despite being hit by three inches of rain over the last few days.

Clerk of the course James Armstrong reports most of the track to be raceable, but there is waterlogging in places.

With drier weather expected later in the week, however, Armstrong is hoping conditions will improve enough to allow the card, featuring the StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle, to go ahead.

"We had a total of 49 millimetres of rain on Monday, which has taken us up to 75mm since Saturday," he said.

"The course has taken it remarkably well, but we are still heavy, waterlogged in places.

"I would say 80% of the track is raceable. There is an area between the two-mile-six and the two-mile-four start that has standing water.

"We are looking at omitting one fence and maybe one hurdle.

"Given a dry 24 hours, hopefully tomorrow we will be in a much better position and from Thursday things are looking drier."

Conditions at Newbury remain reasonably good considering the recent wet spell that has caused waterlogging and even flooding in some parts of the country. Clerk of the course Richard Osgood left the going unchanged as soft, heavy in places at the Berkshire track yesterday afternoon.

While drier weather is forecast for the rest of the week, Osgood is turning his attention to protecting the course from the possibility of overnight frosts for the three-day Sportingbet Winter Festival meeting, culminating in the Hennessy Gold Cup on Saturday.

"We're still the same - soft, heavy in places. We've just had some odd light showers today but it's starting to dry. We've had a nice wind," said Osgood.

"We've covered all take-offs and landings for the weekend plus a little bit down the back straight where it doesn't see the sun that much. …

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