Haydock still hopeful Saturday's meeting will beat cold snap

Haydock officials are hopeful Saturday's racing will go ahead if the frost doesn't set in overnight, and will now have a precautionary inspection at 8am in the morning.

Ascot's Clarence House Chase card was called off on Thursday and Haydock's meeting looked to be heading the same way after snow fell on frozen ground on Wednesday night.

Clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright admitted things were "not looking as good as they were" and announced an inspection for noon on Friday.

However, with the snow having cleared, Tellwright was in a more optimistic mood on Friday morning, and therefore cancelled Friday's inspection and instead called a precautionary check for Saturday.

The Merseyside venue is due to stage four Grade Two events, including The New One Unibet Hurdle and Peter Marsh Chase.

Tellwright said: "We've had a good night and we're in a better place than we expected to be, but in the context of the forecast we've put a precautionary in for tomorrow morning.

"The snow on the track has gone and we're fit to race this morning, so it entirely hinges on the scale of any frost tonight.

"We're forecast temperatures of between just below zero and minus 2C, which is the difference between success and failure."

The picture is a little less promising at Taunton, with officials bringing forward their planned inspection ahead of Saturday's meeting to 4pm on Friday.

A precautionary check was initially called for 8am on raceday, with the track reported to be fit for action on Thursday.

However, "deteriorating conditions" have prompted a change in plans, with the ground currently described as soft, frozen in places.

Sunday's meeting at Fakenham is also subject to an inspection at 1pm on Saturday, with officials at Lingfield anticipating the need to inspect ahead of their planned Sunday card.

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