Weather holds key for Walden's work plans

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The Independent Online

The weather has played havoc with the racing programme and disrupted Henry Cecil's plans for his 1,000 Guineas candidate High Walden. Yesterday's cards at Wetherby and Southwell were lost to the elements, while Cecil has a problem with finding suitable ground for his filly who is not suited by sloppy conditions.

Cecil yesterday confirmed High Walden on course for the Guineas on Sunday week, contradicting reports that the filly, an 8-1 chance for the Classic with Ladbrokes, would miss the race due to a setback.

The Newmarket trainer added that his charge will work today as long as conditions are suitable. "She's fine. There are no problems," he said, "but I've not been able to run her because of the soft ground - she hates soft ground. She didn't work on Saturday because of the rain and she will work if the ground is suitable. Hopefully, she will run first time out in the 1,000 Guineas."

High Walden has missed possible engagements in the Fred Darling Stakes, Nell Gwyn Stakes and Masaka Stakes this season because of soft ground.

Even yesterday's meeting on the all-weather surface at Southwell could not defy the elements after a downpour made conditions unsafe. The jumps card at Wetherby was called off due to waterlogging.

Similar problems have afflicted two of today's three meetings. Heavy rain has put Catterick in doubt and an inspection will take place there at 7.30am. There is standing water on the course and further rain is forecast. The first day of Perth's three-day spring festival is also subject to an inspection. Officials examined the course yesterday afternoon and will have another look at 7.15am. The going is heavy.

The clerk of the course, Sam Morshead, said: "It has stopped raining and the course is raceable at the moment. There is rain forecast but the forecast was wrong today."

Beverley will be inspected at 9am today to see if tomorrow's card can go ahead. Racing would not have been possible at the track yesterday.