Leopardstown and Limerick get green light, but weather hits UK racing

This afternoon's National Hunt meeting at Leopardstown has passed a course inspection and goes ahead as planned.

Clerk of the course Lorcan Wyer had been concerned about the possibility of frost and fog, but the track was found to be fit for purpose at 7.30am.

Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Sizing John is the star name on a superb card when he lines up in a strong renewal of the Grade One Leopardstown Christmas Chase.

A statement issued by the Turf Club read: "The ground is currently soft, yielding in places on the hurdle track and yielding, soft in places on the steeplechase course."

The news is also positive at Limerick as this afternoon's National Hunt meeting goes ahead as scheduled.

A 7.30am precautionary inspection had been called due to the threat of overnight frost, but there are no reported problems.

However, this afternoon's jumps fixture at Leicester in England has been abandoned due to snow and ice.

Clerk of the course Jimmy Stevenson accepted on Wednesday that it would be a "tough battle" to get the meeting on after nearly two inches of snow fell on the track.

The situation was not helped, either, by overnight temperatures having dropped to as low as minus 3C.

And with the position untenable, Stevenson announced Leicester's abandonment well in advance of an intended 8am inspection.

Kelso's National Hunt card on Friday has, however, been called off due to "frozen ground".

Temperatures dropped to a shuddering minus 4C, with another hard frost and snow forecast on raceday.

Doncaster is on weather watch, too, ahead of its meeting on the same afternoon.

Clerk of the course Roderick Duncan and his team will stage a 7am precautionary inspection "due to possible frost, snow and changing forecasts".

Happily for fellow England's northern racegoers, today's jumps meeting at Catterick survived an 8am inspection.

Overnight temperatures "dropped to minus 2C briefly", but it was a positively balmy 2C when clerk of the course Fiona Needham assessed conditions at daybreak.

It is not likely to get much warmer throughout the day, but the fixture will nonetheless go ahead - with the going good to soft, good in places.


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