Cheltenham and Doncaster are positive going into the weekend games.
Cheltenham and Doncaster officials are hopeful that this weekend’s high-profile matches will go as planned because temperatures are expected to rise across the country in the coming days.
Fans of the National Hunt haven’t had any races this week, with six days without jumps racing in Britain after the Hereford meeting on Monday.
The show returned to the road on Monday afternoon for Ffos Las, but Tuesday’s races at Exeter, Leicester, and a rescheduled game at Market Rasen have all been canceled. On Wednesday, racing at Warwick will be subject to an inspection on Tuesday at noon.
Beyond that, however, forecasts indicate that temperatures will remain above freezing for the remainder of the week. This, in particular, will undoubtedly be a great relief for the teams at Cheltenham and Doncaster.
Cheltenham is set to host a bumper nine-race card, including a well-known Gold Cup trial in the Grade Two Cleeve Hurdle and the Grade One Clarence House Chase, which was saved and rescheduled from the abandoned meeting at Ascot last weekend.
Jon Pullin, the course clerk, is optimistic that the weather will not cause any issues, despite the fact that a portion of the Prestbury Park circuit remained frozen on Monday afternoon.
He said: “We’re currently frozen following some frosts over the weekend, but the situation does improve, certainly from Wednesday onwards.
“We are forecast another frost this evening, getting down to minus 3C/minus 4C, but then things improve and from Wednesday daytime temperatures are due to rise to plus 6C or plus 7C.
“We could get down to around zero on Thursday and Friday night, but again temperatures are forecast to get back up to plus 6C or 7C on Saturday. If the forecast is correct, we’re hopeful that we’ll be OK.
“We’ve got nine great races, we’re delighted with the entries and obviously we’re really pleased to be able to stage the Clarence House.”
On Friday and Saturday, Doncaster will host a high-quality two-day event, with Saturday’s offerings particularly delectable.
Three Grade Two contests support the £100,000 Sky Bet Chase, and the inclusion of 2020 Champion Hurdle heroine Epatante in the Sky Bet Yorkshire Rose Mares’ Hurdle is a bonus.
Clerk of the course Paul Barker said: “We’re currently frozen in places and on the areas of the track that have thawed we’ve got good ground.
“It’s 6C today, so it’s a nice thawing day, and the forecast is saying tonight is probably the last chance of us getting a frost this week. Thereafter temperatures increase to 9C or possibly 10C on Wednesday and the thaw will continue through to racing.
“It was nice to see Epatante entered this morning and 22 stood their ground for the Sky Bet Chase. Over the two days we have some very competitive racing, which is great.”
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