Bookies the biggest losers as action freezes

Despite those running the racecourse Ffos Las clinging to the faint hope that the Welsh track may stage some sport on Saturday, the bookmakers William Hill believe that it's odds-on the next jump racing in Britain will not take place until a week later. The meeting at Kempton on 16 January is 4-5 favourite to resume the traditional winter game.

Over the last few weeks, fans and professionals have had to make do increasingly with low-grade Flat fare on an artificial surface and yesterday even that so-called "all-weather" racing failed to beat the snow.

An outdoor sport in the middle of winter can and does expect weather-related hold-ups. A prolonged break would be a concern but a freeze on the action of a couple of weeks is primarily a matter of deep frustration. Trainers have yards full of thwarted equine athletes, jockeys miss their riding fees, owners miss their fun. Racecourses don't have customers. But financially, it is bookmakers who miss out most, though probably garner least sympathy. "When it snows, we suffer," said Ladbrokes' David Williams. "There are alternatives for punters, but racing is the heartbeat of our business and 2009 ended on such a high, with Kauto Star and the other big names generating great narratives. But in 2010 that great run has stopped dead. It's frustrating to the point of being annoying."

A lost high-profile Saturday meeting costs the betting industry something like £1m, with a knock-on loss to the Levy that provides racing industry funding. Before Christmas, Ascot lost a prestige meeting that offered some £400,000 prize-money and would have attracted more than 20,000 racegoers. "It would have been profitable," said the course's Nick Smith, "but though losing it was not good, it wasn't a killer. Most courses budget for the likelihood of losing a couple of meetings in the winter. It's frustrating more than anything."

For the South Wales trainer Evan Williams that factor is top of the scale. "Ten out of 10," he said. "I've got horses here who need to be running as part of their programme, particularly the novices, who need to get experience, and then the double whammy will be that when the weather does break there'll be so many wanting to run there'll be ballotings out.

"But on a day-to-day basis we cope. There's extra work, getting the yard and walkways gritted. But we can keep the horses moving, we've got an all-weather strip and lunging rings and walkers. If the snow is deep enough we can get round the fields. And we're lucky enough to be able to get to the beach, which is actually a bonus as it's a change of routine and the riders and horses both enjoy it."

Cancelled racing

Mon Lingfield, Wetherby.

Tues Leicester, Taunton.

Wed Hexham, Kempton, Lingfield, Southwell.

Thurs Huntingdon, Ludlow.

Fri Bangor, Fontwell.

Sat Sedgefield, Wincanton.

Sun Hereford.

Suggested Topics
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Extras
indybest
News
peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executives - Outbound & Inbound

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick