Kelso abandon richest meeting six days early after 24 inches of snow

Arctic conditions are still causing havoc with the racing programme in Britain, and Kelso have already given up hope of hosting Sunday's fixture because the Borders track is covered in 24 inches of snow.

Officials at Kelso have acted early, calling off the lucrative meeting six days early without the need of an inspection. Clerk of the course Anthea Morshead said: "There's no hope at all.

"We've got two feet of snow on the track and temperatures are below freezing, even during the day. The forecast remains the same - there's further snow all week - and it's just not going to go in time. It's very bleak."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sunday's meeting had prize money totalling 80,000 and was due to be Kelso's richest meeting of the season, with the John Smiths Scottish Borders National as the main feature race. Although yet to be confirmed. managing director Richard Landale hopes to negotiate a re-staging of the Scottish Borders National on Wednesday 29 December, a new fixture to the Kelso calendar between Christmas and New Year.

There will be no jumps racing anywhere in the country for the fourth day running today after officials at Plumpton finally had to concede defeat due to frost. The meeting was called off after an inspection yesterday and clerk of the course Mark Cornford said: "We wanted to give it every chance but it hasn't shown the improvement we were hoping for. Temperatures haven't risen above zero all day and we've had snow showers. More worrying was that we are not expected to get above zero tomorrow and it's going to be a very cold day."

Two of tomorrow's three National Hunt cards, at Leicester and Market Rasen, have already fallen, while Wincanton are praying for a thaw and are to inspect at 9am today. Exeter will hold an inspection this afternoon ahead of Friday's meeting, but prospects do not look good. The course is currently frozen, with the forecast suggesting the area is in for more sub-zero temperatures.

Clerk of the course Barry Johnson, who also looks after Wincanton, said: "Exeter is a lot more frozen than Wincanton. If conditions stay as they are, neither have much chance but, if there was a thaw at Wincanton, they could have a squeak."

An inspection at Sandown is likely to be called for tomorrow morning ahead of the scheduled two-day meeting which features the Tingle Creek Chase on Saturday. The course is currently unraceable due to snow, although the frost is out of the ground.

Kempton have stepped into the breach by announcing a Flat card on Saturday, supplementing all-weather meetings at Wolverhampton and Southwell.