Kempton lose Lanzarote Hurdle as cold snap bites hard

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The Independent Online

Racing on turf is unlikely to return until Friday, with Kelso in the Scottish Borders the current, somewhat unlikely, favourite to stage the next National Hunt racing on grass.

Yesterday, as the weather claimed the meeting at Sedgefield and today's cards at Fontwell and Musselburgh failed to survive inspections, plans were being made to ensure there is some racing to keep betting-shop punters off the streets on Saturday.

Unfortunately for purists, that means that Kempton's jumps fixture, which would have featured the Lanzarote Hurdle, has already been sacrificed and a Flat card on Polytrack has been put in its place. The clerk of the course at the Sunbury track, Brian Clifford, said: "The forecast did not offer us enough chance of getting a thaw."

Ayr are hoping to stage an additional six-race card on Saturday following the loss of the track's two-day New Year meeting, but again have the weather to contend with.

The most upbeat clerk of the course in Britain is Anthea Morshead at Kelso. "I'm hopeful for Friday," she said. "It is supposed to be milder by the end of the week."

Tomorrow's prospects for Hereford and Catterick are bleak with officials at the former virtually conceding defeat already. Hereford's clerk of the course, Katie Stephens, said: "We are inspecting at 8am tomorrow and we'll need a miracle to run. It was minus eight last night, it's minus two at the moment and down to minus seven again tonight."

Catterick's Fiona Needham is similarly pessimistic ahead of the North Yorkshire venue's noon inspection. "The forecast seems to have deteriorated in that we are forecast temperatures of minus three or four."