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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Weather worries for NewcastleHeadlines
Cinders And Ashes

Newcastle clerk of the course James Armstrong admits conditions are worsening quickly ahead their high-profile fixture on Saturday.

Gosforth Park is set to stage its biggest meeting of the National Hunt season this weekend, featuring what looks set to be a fantastic renewal of the StanJames.com Fighting Fifth Hurdle.

However, like most of the country, the course has been hit by significant rainfall over the weekend and it is still raining on Monday morning.

Armstrong told At The Races: "We had a fairly wet weekend from Saturday into Sunday and we saw an inch of rainfall. It dried up for a period of time during the afternoon and then started raining overnight and I'm afraid to say it's still raining now.

"Since midnight we've had another 15 millimetres of rain, which obviously isn't helping things. We were raceable first thing this morning but it is progressively getting worse and there is a little bit of standing water beginning to form in one or two places.

"We're expecting up to an inch of rain today and then things should improve a little bit thereafter, but we'll have to see what happens.

"We're forecast some stronger, cooler winds, which would be more benefit than covering the course.

"We have to monitor things closely."

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