sport

Can Ascot beat the weather?

Ascot clerk of the course Chris Stickels is "cautiously optimistic" over prospects for Saturday's big meeting.

Officials at the track are hopeful that they can defy the wintry weather for the card which features Sprinter Sacre's next appearance in the Victor Chandler Chase.

Alongside the feature contest a number of other high-quality performers could appear, with Peddlers Cross, Raya Star and Snap Tie among the entries for the Keltbray Holloway's Hurdle and Grand National possibles Cappa Bleu and Roberto Goldback also entered up.

A number of meetings have already fallen to the cold weather this week, with inspections called ahead of racing at several tracks in the days ahead.

But despite temperatures being forecast to drop to as low as -5C in the next couple of nights, clerk of the course Chris Stickels said he was "cautiously optimistic" over prospects on Saturday.

"It's undoubtedly in our favour that we aren't racing on Friday and so won't have to take the covers up and down again - we can leave everythng until about 8.30am on Saturday before we have to start uncovering," he said.

"It hasn't been as cold as it has been forecast to be so far - we were forecast -2C last night and it only got down to 1C.

"There are flurries of snow forecast, but if they remain fairly light they shouldn't cause us too much of a problem. Obviously large amounts of snow falling on top of the covers make things trickier but I don't think snow is going to be a problem - it's more the temperatures that could be a threat as we are forecast as low as -5C on Thursday night. However it is looking as if it will be warmer on Friday and Saturday and if that's the case, the covers could well do their job.

"As things stand, I'm cautiously optimistic. The turf's in good shape under the covers, but we are in the weather's hands."