14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Racing decimated by big freezeHeadlines

Snow continues to play havoc with turf racing in Britain as prospects for a quick return look slim.

Ayr is hoping to race on Wednesday after the British Horseracing Authority awarded them an extra meeting, but snow now features in their forecast.

Clerk of the course Emma Marley said: "The forecast is slightly problematic. All we can do is wait and see as it is coming in from the east coast and it is quite heavy over there."

Catterick's meeting, also on Wednesday, has already been abandoned after an inspection. Turf meetings at Leicester and Wetherby on Tuesday had been lost to the weather, but there is a chance of racing at Exeter on Wednesday - although it needs the forecast to go their way.

"We've got a glimmer of hope. We're not too sure what's going to fall overnight, it could easily be snow, which would give us no chance. But it may be rain or sleet which would help shift the snow."

Warwick's meeting on Thursday was abandoned after an impromptu 11am inspection was called by clerk of the course Sulekha Varma. Fakenham's card on the same day is subject to a 12 noon inspection on Tuesday after officials report the track being covered in four inches of snow. Varma is also the clerk at Huntingdon, which is due to stage racing on Friday but must inspect at 9.30am on Wednesday.

"We hope things improve in time with the meeting being on Friday. There is at least two to three inches of snow across the site which is enough to cause a problem," she said.

Doncaster race on Friday and Saturday, with Friday's meeting subject to a 10am inspection on Wednesday after five inches of snow fell on the track. Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan said: "It depends which forecast you look at but there are glimmers of hope. The forecast for Thursday night into Friday is a little bit difficult."

All eyes are on Cheltenham, however, which is due to stage Festival Trials Day on Saturday. Clerk of the course Simon Claisse describes the meeting as "being in the balance" and expects a better idea of prospects by Wednesday morning.

Racing on an artificial surface took place at Wolverhampton on Monday and another meeting is planned there for Tuesday. A similar card at Lingfield on the same day hinges on a 7am inspection. Limerick expects to get the show back on the road in Ireland with their jumps meeting on Wednesday. Racing last took place across the Irish Sea on Saturday at Naas and hopes are high that Limerick will go ahead.

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