Snow wipes out British racing
Racing in Britain was wiped out by snow on Friday and the prospects don't look much better for the weekend.
Widespread snow led to a completely blank afternoon of racing in Britain on Friday - with prospects for the weekend and beyond looking little better.
Chepstow's card was the first to go without clerk of the course Keith Ottesen needing the scheduled 8am inspection, while even the all-weather meetings at Wolverhampton and Lingfield were unable to cope with the snow.
All three of Saturday's jumping fixtures at Taunton, Haydock and Ascot have also been abandoned, leaving just the Kempton and Lingfield Polytrack cards to try to beat the weather.
Wolverhampton's clerk Fergus Cameron took two checks during the morning but the second inspection found Dunstall Park to be unraceable.
He said: "We have had getting on for two inches of snow already this morning and unfortunately it is falling faster than we can keep up with it.
"We are forecast a further deterioration of the weather and we've had no option but to call it off."
It was a similar situation at Lingfield, with clerk Neil MacKenzie Ross forced to admit defeat after staging inspections at 8am, 10am and 11am.
He said: "While it is not particularly heavy snow, it is coming down continuously which means we aren't able to keep the track safe and fit."
The track is also due to race on Saturday and a 7am inspection has been called to assess the conditions.
Sprinter Sacre was due to appear in the Victor Chandler Chase at Ascot but the writing was on the wall well before a planned 4.30pm inspection.
Clerk of the course Chris Stickels said: "We went out to take a look just after 11.30am and the snow was still coming down very heavily.
"There are two inches of snow on parts of the track and we can't cope with that.
"We had an attempt to get one of the covers off, but there is so much snow on them already and there is more to come.
"If we didn't have covers down we wouldn't be raceable anyway."
Stickels confirmed that the British Horseracing Authority are looking into the possibility of rescheduling the feature event to Cheltenham's meeting on Saturday week.
"I think the BHA have got tentative plans to reschedule it to Cheltenham," he said.
Taunton's clerk of the course Michael Trickey said: "We have had about three inches of snow and it is still snowing now.
"It would be foolhardy to continue as temperatures are unlikely to get above 1C today, so we would be snowbound and if it did thaw, we would then be waterlogged as the ground is heavy and can't take any more."
Kirkland Tellwright made an early call before an 8.30am inspection at Haydock, and said: "We have to be realistic, we are white all over now and could not race."
It looks unlikely Leicester or Wetherby will be racing on Tuesday, either.
Leicester's clerk Jimmy Stevenson has called an inspection for 9am on Sunday with the turf partly frozen and under a blanket of snow.
He said: "It started snowing again an hour ago and we have two inches on the track now.
"The frost last night actually wasn't too bad, it only got down to minus 2C, but I don't think temperatures are going to rise enough to get rid of this snow.
"What we could do with is the snow turning to rain, as it clears quite quickly when that happens, but it doesn't look like it will.
"It needs a miracle."
Officials at Wetherby are downbeat about Wetherby's chances on the same afternoon, and they will inspect at 11am on Sunday.
Clerk of the course Jonjo Sanderson said: "We have a covering of snow. It's not heavy, but it's no longer light.
"We are also frozen in one or two places and obviously there is further snow forecast for any time from tonight until Sunday.
"The daytime temperatures are only zero and the night time temperatures are around minus 1C.
"There is not enough optimism in that forecast to suggest we'll be racing on Tuesday I'm afraid."
There is also a 2pm Saturday inspection for the card at Fairyhouse on Sunday, although the Irish course was in raceable condition at noon on Friday.