Rain still a pain for racing
Torrential rain has again hit the racing calendar hard with several meetings being abandoned and a handful of others in some doubt.
But as the Punchestown Festival continued through desperate conditions, Sandown's big meeting on Friday and Saturday that traditionally ends the National Hunt season is in no obvious danger.
Clerk of the course Andrew Cooper said: "We've got no issue at present.
"The ground on the Flat course is heavy and on the jumps courses a mixture of soft and good to soft.
"It's been dry here since mid-morning and dry and breezy which helps and we are not forecast much more rain until tomorrow lunchtime. The outlook is generally for sunshine and showers.
"Saturday night is the next heavy band of rain and we'll have finished by then.
"At the moment no inspection is planned as there's nothing to look at."
As further chase events were cancelled at Punchestown over today and tomorrow, a six-race card on Saturday will feature thetote.com Gold Cup, which was due to be staged on Wednesday.
The news was not good for Leicester who were due to stage one of their biggest meetings on Saturday.
Clerk of the course Jimmy Stevenson inspected the venue just before 8am and was forced to admit defeat.
He said: "We were heavy yesterday and we've had 16 millimetres in the last 24 hours. We've had 109mm in the last three weeks which is more than we had in the whole of 2011."
Beverley's meeting this afternoon was lost after a scheduled 9am inspection was put back to 11am.
Racecourse manager Sally Iggulden said: "We have been raceable right the way through but we knew we couldn't take too much more.
"The forecast was hit and miss and we missed all the early rain, which is why we pushed the inspection back until 11am.
"Another band of rain moved in just after 10am though, and there are now areas of the course that are waterlogged."
Ripon's meeting on Saturday is also in some doubt with an 11.30am inspection called for Friday.
Clerk of the course James Hutchinson reports the track to be fit for racing at present, but the threat of substantial overnight rain is causing concern.
"Currently we are raceable but we have called an inspection due to the forecast for further heavy rain from about 6pm tonight," he said.
"I felt it was best to call a precautionary inspection so that we can assess conditions once the rain has come through."
Wetherby on Sunday is officially described as soft, heavy in places with standing water.