Friday’s big Lingfield card faces precautionary inspection

Officials at Lingfield are keeping their fingers crossed the first day of the Winter Million meeting will survive a 9am precautionary inspection due to the threat of frost.

The course has been under fleece covers since Sunday and is currently raceable underneath.

While the temperature reached the balmy heights of 9C on Wednesday it dropped sharply overnight to minus 3C.

The mercury is expected to reach 5C on Thursday before dipping to minus 4C on Friday morning. It is hoped daytime temperatures then reach 4C before racing gets under way. The going is currently heavy.

Clerk of the course George Hill said: “We’ve had frost after frost and it’s to be colder tomorrow morning than it is this morning.

“We were forecast a minus 1C or minus 2C and it got down to minus 3C. We’re forecast minus 4C on Friday and hopefully it will only be minus 4C.

“You’d race today. I’ve had a good look at the track and all the vulnerable areas and it’s fine. The frost hasn’t got into the ground and the covers are doing their job.

“Tomorrow is due to be coldest morning of the week. We’re due minus 4C and if we get minus 6, for argument’s sake, then we could be in trouble.

“We’re raceable at the moment, but there is obviously a slight risk.”

Friday is the first of three scheduled days of racing at the track, with action switching to the all-weather on Saturday before jump racing returns on Sunday, featuring the £150,000 Fleur De Lys Chase.

There is also an 8am precautionary inspection ahead of Market Rasen’s meeting on Friday, also due to the threat of frost.

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