Chilling news forces a Southwell stopgap

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The Independent Online
An extra race meeting at Southwell's Fibresand track on Saturday was hastily arranged yesterday as the freezing weather closed in on courses in most parts of the country. Southwell also attempts to rescue racing from a blank day today by hosting the Flat card originally scheduled for snow-bound Wolverhampton.

But jumps racing looks set to be wiped out until Saturday. No National Hunt action has been possible in Britain since last weekend.

Cheltenham Festival trials scheduled for Huntingdon and Wincanton tomorrow look sure to be abandoned at inspections this morning. Friday's meeting at Bangor is also subject to an inspection today, with the course frozen under nine inches of snow.

The valuable two-day Tote Gold Trophy fixture at Newbury on Friday and Saturday is in jeopardy. Richard Pridham, the clerk of the course, said: "It's early days but it's not looking good at the moment. It has been snowing all day and the temperature is not getting above freezing."

However, there were hopes last night that racing will be possible at Catterick and Ayr on Saturday.