Snow forces turf racing to be axed, Doncaster misses out

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THERE will be no turf racing in Britain until Sunday at the earliest as the so-called ‘Beast from the East’ plays havoc with the fixture list.

It is a major blow to Doncaster. Not only is today’s meeting off, but tomorrow’s Grimthorpe Chase card has fallen victim to the elements.

It is a significant setback to a number of leading trainers, including Yorkshire’s Sue Smith, who viewed this race as a trial for their Grand National contenders.

Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan had been hoping for a thaw to enable covers to be removed from Town Moor.

“Unfortunately the forecast is saying there’s no chance of rain now and we might possibly have snow until Monday,” he said.

“There’s little chance of the Grimthorpe Chase being saved, but there’s a possibility the mares’ Listed hurdle could be moved to Hereford. Conversations with the British Horseracing Authority are ongoing.”

Tomorrow’s meeting at Newbury has also been abandoned as expected.

Ironically, all-weather fixtures are not immune either from the snow and ice.

Some surfaces are covered in snow while other tracks are inaccessible in the weather.

However, the aforementioned Duncan, who is also clerk of the course at Southwell, is hopeful today’s meeting will go ahead at the Nottinghamshire track.

It will see Bumper races held on the all-weather track for National Hunt horses, with the line-up including Queen Mother Champion Chase hopeful Charbel. “I’d be reasonably confident of racing going ahead. We’ve had horses galloping on the track for the previous two days,” said Duncan.