Fibresand hit by all weathers

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The ability of all-weather racing to live up to its title will be put to the test today when Southwell will attempt to stage a meeting on its Fibresand track despite the fact that almost half a foot of snow has fallen on to the course in 24 hours.

"We have had five to six inches of snow and the prospects should be fine as long as there is no heavy snowfall overnight," Ashley Bealby, the clerk of the course, said. "The track is raceable today and at 5pm [yesterday] there are no problems, although I will have a look at the course at 6am tomorrow."

Musselburgh, the turf track which rang out the Old, looks the most likely to ring in the New as snow and frost ravage the rest of the racing programme. Turf racing has not taken place in Britain since the card at the Edinburgh course last Friday and, with prospects for the remainder of the week looking bleak, Saturday's Musselburgh card seems the most likely to break the sequence.

The course's manager, Mark Kershaw, reported yesterday: "I wouldn't put it as strongly as to say it is promising, but though we have had a slight frost and a slight dusting of snow, nothing has got into the ground."

Tomorrow's cards at Ayr and Market Rasen have already tumbled to the elements and with Friday's venues of Lingfield, Sedgefield and Towcester suffering from a cocktail of frost and snow, the turf drought looks set to continue.

Saturday's cards at Haydock and Sandown, which have attracted a number of top-class entries, also look likely to fail. Sandown's fixture is due to stage the Anthony Mildmay, Peter Cazalet Memorial Chase, the Tolworth Hurdle and the Pertemps Hurdle, but Andrew Cooper, the clerk of the course, is far from optimistic.

"We never got above -3C last night and it hasn't been more than -1C today," he said. "We will have a clearer picture on Thursday but you would have to say, given how we are now and the forecast, the chances of racing on Saturday are slim."