Doubts about the King George

Snow white and the seven days – Kempton seeks happy ending for its panto

The Christmas-card look is all very well, but not for racecourse officials. The snow that blanketed most of the country yesterday has put paid to this afternoon's low-grade Flat fixture at Kempton; even a track styled all-weather cannot cope with nearly a foot of the white stuff.

But potentially more seriously, the Sunbury track's midwinter showpiece, the King George VI Chase a week today, is under threat from the weather. The jump circuit has been under frost-guard covers for a week, but those covers are now themselves covered, and the thaw forecast for later in the week is an imperative if Kauto Star is to get his chance for his tilt at a record-breaking fifth victory.

Since its inauguration in 1937 the King George, second only to the Cheltenham Gold Cup in prestige for staying chasers, has been lost only four times to the elements, most recently in 1981. Arctic conditions intervened 15 years ago, but the race was staged 11 days later at Kempton'ssister track, Sandown.

"The good thing is that there is no frost in the ground under the covers," said Kempton's clerk of the course, Barney Clifford, yesterday, "but we've got at least four inches of snow on the covers and more forecast. Temperatures are due to stay cold until Friday, but into Christmas Day and Boxing Day are due to rise, up to around 3C. If that thaw comes, we are in a good position, and at the moment time is in our side, we are still a week away. But we need that forecast to work for us."

There has been no jumping in Britain since Thursday, and there will be none until Tuesday at the earliest, when there is a card scheduled at Sedgefield. But despite a sprinkling of snow in Co Meath yesterday, sport went ahead at Navan, where the progressive five-year-old Oscars Well presented perfectly credible credentials for the Cheltenham festival.

Competition for the afternoon's top prize, the Grade One Navan Novice Hurdle, was seen as devalued by the defection of the unbeatenHidden Cyclone, but Oscars Well could hardly have been more impressive, cruising among his rivals before powering clear to win, hard-held by Robbie Power, by eight lengths.

The two-and-a-half mile contest is one that has been taken by a host of horses who have subsequently proved themselves high-class performers ina variety of divisions, such as Harbour Pilot, Solerina, Newmill and Mikael d'Haguenet.

"I know the one that would have been favourite didn't run," said the winning trainer, Jessica Harrington, "but mine couldn't have done it better, on tacky ground Robbie said he hated. He'll have to carry a penalty next time for the Grade One win, and then we'll find out how good he is."

Tony McCoy will bear a metaphorical extra weight – that of the racing world's expectation – when he lines up for tonight's BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. He has ridden more than 3,300 winners; yesterday at lowly Southwell a young man at the very start of his career, the 18-year-old George Chaloner, brought home Dunmore Boy with a well-judged swoop for his secondvictory from only 10 rides.

Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
John Profumo and his wife Valerie Robson in 1959
voicesWard committed no crime, and the truth is still being covered up, writes Geoffrey Robertson QC
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
news... you won't believe how bad their skills were

Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright and Mark Wright
tvStrictly goes head-to-head with Apprentice
footballPremier League preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's clashes
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

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas