sport

Rain pain for racing

Sunday's card at Plumpton could be the last jumps meeting in Britain for a few days as wet weather continues to disrupt the jumping programme.

With big meetings at Sandown and Wincanton falling by the wayside on Saturday, it seemed unlikely Plumpton's At The Races Sussex National card would survive, despite the track passing an initial inspection on Saturday morning.

However, a dry night has come to the track's rescue and clerk of the course Mark Cornford was able to give the meeting the green light 15 minutes before the scheduled 7am inspection.

Cornford said: "It was a close decision and it did rain yesterday afternoon but it was thankfully dry overnight.

"There's a front bringing more rain in from the west but it is not supposed to reach us until 2-3pm when the rain gets serious after 3pm but thankfully we'll be finished by then.

"If the forecast is wrong and it hits us at 11am then we'd be once again be in doubt but as things stand we are fit to go."

Taunton's Monday card was abandoned on Saturday, leaving Southwell to fly the flag for British jumping.

However, clerk of the course Roderick Duncan has announced a 7am precautionary inspection due to the threat of more rain.

He said: "We had a bit more rain yesterday than was forecast but we'd still race today.

"There's the possibility of more rain coming overnight and if we got upwards of what is forecast, between 5-10mm, then we'd be coming under pressure.

"I just thought it was best we let people know."

Prospects of racing over obstacles on Tuesday are also looking bleak, with officials at Chepstow making an early decision to call of proceedings.

Since the Welsh National card on December 28, the track has taken a further 74 millimetres of rain, making the decision to abandon fairly easy.

Chepstow's Twitter feed read: "Our meeting on Tuesday 7th January has been abandoned. Parts of the track are waterlogged and further rain is forecast today and tomorrow."

Leicester's meeting on Tuesday must survive an 8am inspection on Monday, with clerk of the course Jimmy Stevenson suggesting the card has an "outside chance" of going ahead.

He said: "It's improved quite a bit but it just depends on what happens this afternoon.

"We're hoping for the wind and not too much rain. The forecast is a bit hit and miss.

"We've got an outside chance."

The situation looks a little brighter on Wednesday.

Doncaster looks set fair to stage a seven-race jumping card, although Ludlow's fixture is in trouble, with an inspection called for 8.30am on Tuesday.

Fontwell's meeting on Thursday has already been abandoned due to water logging after a further eight millimetres of rain overnight.

"More rain meant it was an easy decision to make," said clerk of the course Edward Arkell.

"The course would need a dry four or five days before it is raceable and we are not going to get that so there is no point dragging it out."

Huntingdon's meeting on Friday is already in doubt with an inspection called for 11am on Wednesday as the course is partially flooded.

Clerk of the course Sulekha Varma tweeted: "Huntingdon: Flooded last night. Water still rising. Inspection 11am Wed. All not lost but need water to start receding soon!"