YESTERDAY afternoon’s meeting at Ayr survived three inspections before going ahead.
Frost was the big concern but temperatures rose sufficiently during the morning for the jumps fixture to be given the thumbs-up.
A protracted third inspection at 12pm revealed the positive outcome, with the going officially given as soft.
When racing got underway just over an hour later, Irish jockey Jason Maguire took the opening novices’ hurdle on 8-15 favourite Veloce, the first leg of a double for Maguire and trainer Donald McCain, who also scored with Swatow Typhoon in the closing NH flat race.
There was success for Scottish trainers, in the shape of Nuts N Bolts (7-2) in the beginners’ chase for Lucinda Russell, and Too Cool To Fool (12-1) in the penultimate handicap hurdle for Jim Goldie, while champion jockey A P McCoy claimed a one-and-a-half victory in the second division of the novices’ hurdle on 8-1 shot Ballybogey.
Hopes of Cheltenham’s big Festival Trials Day meeting defying the elements this weekend have risen despite another inch of snow falling on the track on Tuesday night.
No further significant snowfall is forecast ahead of the fixture and officials will work to clear the white stuff from the top of the covers that have been protecting the surface before a planned inspection at 8am tomorrow. The card could take place on Sunday should the course not be deemed fit to race on Saturday.
Things are not looking so rosy at Doncaster. Tomorrow’s meeting went by the board on Wednesday morning and Saturday’s card, featuring the Sky Bet Chase, hinges on a 2pm inspection today.
Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan said: “There is still snow on the track. We had a little bit of a thaw yesterday but there is still more than a covering in most places.”
Prospects are bleak at Uttoxeter, with Saturday’s meeting subject to a 10am inspection today. Although there has been a slight thaw, two inches of snow remain on the track. Today is a blank day for jumps racing in Britain but Ireland flies the flag at Gowran Park with the Goffs Thyestes Handicap Chase taking centre stage.
Saturday is the earliest day for another resumption as Huntingdon has called off its Friday card due to snow. Clerk of the course Sulekha Varma tweeted: “Three inches of snow still on track and no prospect of sufficient thaw.”
Officials at Sedgefield are pessimistic about chances of racing on Sunday after calling an inspection for 2pm today. Clerk of the course Phil Tuck admits the meeting is likely to be off as the track is covered by snow, with little chance of improvement.
Meanwhile, the British Horseracing Authority has programmed a card of “jumpers’ bumpers” to take place at Wolverhampton on Sunday.