May 20 2013 Latest news:
By Simon Jackson, London24’s horse racing correspondent
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Horse Talk: Top horse-racing tips and the latest news
Sandown Park clerk of the course Andrew Cooper remains optimistic ahead of Saturday’s meeting that they can defy the wet weather which led to the abandonment of Cheltenham yesterday.
The going at the Esher track is currently heavy, soft in places, ahead of the valuable card that includes the Grade 1 32Red Hurdle but officials have been buoyed by the news of the forecast respite from the rain.
“In all honesty we would struggle to race today – whilst there is little in the way of standing water there are several areas of saturated and potentially false ground which it would be difficult currently to get around,” Cooper said on Monday.
“We are expecting today to be the last wet day and the rest of the week to be predominantly dry and relatively mild. On that basis, and with some further moving of rails, I believe we can be optimistic of racing here on Saturday. A couple of dry days will, I’m sure, make a massive difference. The ground is bound to remain testing.”
Yesterday Cheltenham was left with no choice but to call off their New Year’s Day fixture as the course was considered unraceable after overnight rain.
“Very sadly, we have lost a raceday for the first time since December, 2008,” Cheltenham clerk of the course Simon Claisse said. “We have been in talks with the British Horseracing Authority about whether the Grade 2 Cheltenham Pony Club Raceday Novices’ Chase can take place anywhere else.”
“We have had further rain overnight, it is raining now and more is forecast. The course is waterlogged in too many places for racing to go ahead.”
In other news, Lingfield Park’s meetings on the all-weather track today and tomorrow are set to go ahead as scheduled, but an inspection has been called for Thursday morning ahead of Friday’s jumps card as the turf course is currently unraceable due to waterlogging.