Ascot facing 'very challenging' week as officials warn of cancellations due to weather

Officials at Ascot fear prospects of racing being staged at the track this week are “very challenging”.

A two-day card includes Saturday's Grade One Howden Long Walk Hurdle, where Champ and Paisley Park, who fought out one of the finishes of the season in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury last time, are among the entries. 

There are also a pair of Grade Two contests on Friday's card, the Porsche Kennel Gate Novices' Hurdle and the Howden Noel Novices' Chase.

However, with sub-zero temperatures at the Berkshire track every night since Friday, and no sign of a thaw until Saturday at the earliest, Stickels admits his team has its work cut out to get the meeting on.

And should the meeting get the green light, the ground will likely be on the quicker side.

"We won't be watering - we will be lucky to be racing. It is going to be very challenging," said Stickels on Monday morning.

"We are not raceable at the moment. It is frozen in places and we have a light covering of snow.

"We have frost covers down on vulnerable areas, but we still have got frozen areas of the track, and temperatures look like they are going to be sub-zero every night. It could be minus 2C tonight, then it gets colder, actually.

"Wednesday night and Thursday night are colder again, so it looks quite tricky. Temperatures are not going to rise much above 3C during the day, maybe a bit better Saturday.

"I might be a bit less confident on Friday that I would be on Saturday, but at the moment, we haven't been raceable since Friday.

"It got up to plus 5C on Saturday and we wouldn't have been able to race. It is a tricky one to be honest.

"I will be worrying about the ground all week. We will do everything we can. If we have an opportunity to get the covers down on the rest of the track and it thaws enough to do that, we will. We want to race if we can, obviously."

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