Plummeting temperatures and snow are threatening to close down turf racing in Britain this weekend but Leopardstown is confident it will beat the weather and be able to stage the high-class action of its second annual two-day Dublin Racing Festival.
Musselburgh’s Cheltenham Festival trials weekend is already off, Wetherby inspect on Friday but Sandown Park, which is hoping to host Buveur D’Air in the Contenders Hurdle, was described on Thursday as “by no means a lost cause”.
However, it faces a number of challenges. After temperatures dropped to -7C on Wednesday night parts of the course were frozen under the covers. Some 50 of those covers were lifted, not only to help thaw those parts of the course frozen in the shade of the grandstand, but they become immovable should snow fall on them.
In an attempt to beat the snow Warren Greatrex sent La Bague Au Roi, unbeaten in three novice chases including the Kauto Star at Kempton Park over Christmas, to Ireland last night.
The eight-year-old, one of only four British runners at the meeting, is due to take on Ireland’s best three-mile novice chasers in the Flogas Novice Chase on Sunday. “It will be tough but she is definitely in the mix. She has improved with every run and improved again for Kempton,” said Greatrex.