Racing: Record a Darley priority

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The Independent Online
THE WEATHER closed in on racing yesterday but should not be able to prevent Kevin Darley from returning to the saddle in pursuit of a riding record. Darley has been out of action since breaking a collar- bone in a fall in Spain on 17 October and his tally this Flat season of 136 is one short of Edward Hide's 1974 record for a northern-based jockey.

Darley has five rides today at Southwell, the only meeting to survive yesterday after the abandonment of Catterick and Folkestone, and reckons Sense Of Priority is his best chance.

The all-weather track may hold the same distinction today if Huntingdon and Stratford fall to frost. Both could have raced yesterday.

Hugo Bevan, clerk of the course at Huntingdon, where Travado and Deep Sensation are due to meet, said: 'Temperatures of between -2C and -4C are forecast, which would not pose problems.'

His Stratford counterpart, John Ford, said: 'We are clear of frost and snow but as there is a sharp frost forecast we will have a precautionary inspection at 7.15am.'

Prospects for the cards tomorrow, when there is no all-weather fixture to keep betting shops turning cash over, look more bleak. At Hexham there is six inches of snow on the track; freezing conditions are forecast for Hereford; and although Windsor was raceable yesterday, a heavy frost is forecast. All three tracks will hold lunchtime inspections today.

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