Kempton card under threat

Kempton's Boxing Day card sneaked in as one of only two fixtures to survive the elements yesterday, but today's meeting at the Sunbury track may not be so fortunate.

The track will be inspected at 8am and a course spokesman reported: "There is the possibility of low temperatures and, as we have raced today, the ground has been opened up so the frost can get in." Wetherby and Musselburgh will hold inspections at 7.30am, while today's meetings at Leicester and Chepstow have already been called off.

Hopes that Chepstow's Welsh National might be rescheduled were dashed after discussions between the course executive and the race's sponsor, Coral. It is the third successive year that Chepstow has been unfit to stage the race, although it was rerouted to Newbury two seasons ago.

So for the second successive Christmas, the racing programme has been shredded. Twelve months on from all 10 fixtures being abandoned, nine -at Ayr, Hereford, Huntingdon, Market Rasen, Newton Abbot, Sedgefield, Wetherby, Wincanton and Wolverhampton - fell yesterday.

Lingfield's all-weather card, added to the programme last week for just such a contingency, was the only other meeting to go ahead.

Prospects are not looking good for tomorrow's turf meetings with inspections planned at Folkestone (noon) and Huntingdon (3pm). Frost is also threatening Newbury, which features the Challow Hurdle.

The Irish have come to the rescue of racing fans. Yesterday's Leopardstown card -in front of an 18,000 crowd, enabled Danoli to get back on the winning track by beating the British raider Land Afar and earn a Gold Cup entry, while today's card will take the place of Chepstow in BBC2 schedules.

The corporation will show the 12.55, 1.25, 2.00 and 2.35 races, with the highlight being the appearance of the champion two-miler Klairon Davis and the leading novice hurdler Istabraq.

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