Clarence House Chase meeting falls victim to the weather

Saturday’s BetMGM Clarence House Chase fixture at Ascot has been abandoned due to a frozen track.

The Berkshire circuit was due to host a seven-race card, with the Grade One feature set to stage a mouthwatering rematch between old foes El Fabiolo and Jonbon.

However, a third clash between the pair will not take place this weekend, with the track deemed unraceable following a 4pm inspection on Thursday and further freezing temperatures forecast.

A statement from Ascot posted on X, formerly Twitter, read: “The BetMGM Clarence House Chase Raceday has been abandoned.

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“Temperatures dropped to minus 6C overnight into Thursday and the track is still frozen in places at 4pm under the covers.

“Given the forecast remains for sub-zero temperatures over the next two nights there is no prospect of improvement before raceday on Saturday.”

The British Horseracing Authority has confirmed it is in discussions with relevant stakeholders on the options for the potential rescheduling of races lost this weekend, among them the Clarence House.

Last year the race was saved and switched to Cheltenham’s Trials day the following weekend, and Nicky Henderson has said he intends to run Jonbon there should that be the case again.

Speaking to Sky Sports Racing, the Seven Barrows trainer said: “Last year the Clarence House was moved to Cheltenham and I think it would be very nice if it did (again). If it did, I’m pretty sure we would (run), as long as they don’t desecrate the prize-money.

“I’d quite like Jonbon to go to Cheltenham to be honest with you, as he’s actually only been beaten twice in his life, once was in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham by Constitution Hill and then by El Fabiolo last year in the Arkle.

“That does not in any way indicate to me that he doesn’t like Cheltenham, but it would be nice to get a win behind him round there just to prove he’s as good a horse around Cheltenham – which I’m sure he is – as he is anywhere else. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to go there.”

An inspection has also been called ahead of Saturday’s meeting at Haydock, with officials set to check on conditions at 8am on Friday.

Clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright admits the card, which is headlined by the Sky Bet Peter Marsh Chase, needs a “miracle” if it is to go ahead.

“We’ve not had a great day and the frost hasn’t even got off the running rail, so we are not looking great,” Tellwright said on Thursday afternoon.

“We will wait to see if the thaw starts early but there is no indication of it, so I think we will be put out of our misery in the morning.

“We just need to pray there is a miracle and the thaw starts in time.”

Friday’s meeting at Market Rasen was called off following a noon inspection, with the track frozen after temperatures dropped to minus 8C overnight.

Taunton’s meeting on Saturday is subject to an inspection at noon on Friday.

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