Frost covers deployed as Lingfield bids to beat the freeze

Lingfield are applying frost covers ahead of the Winter Million meeting which is set to kick off on Friday.

The track is due to host the three-day fixture from Friday to Sunday, with the first and last days National Hunt cards and the Saturday a Flat card run on the all-weather.

Heavy rain has caused water to pool in certain areas of the course, but the upcoming minus overnight temperatures mean frost covers are in use to prevent the ground from freezing.

George Hill, Lingfield’s clerk of the course, said: “It will be freezing from tonight, we’re covering the entire track today. There’ll be four nights of -3C to -4C and daytime temperatures of 2C and 3C.

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“Once it stays above freezing we’ll lift the covers, the ground is heavy and there’s standing water in places.

Lingfield Park Racecourse
Lingfield Park racecourse (Adam Davy/PA)

“If we don’t cover with three or four nights of -4C, then the frost will get in the ground. Covering any bits of standing water isn’t ideal, but we’ve no more rain forecast and that should stand us a better chance.

“We’ll need improvement with standing water and four nights of minus temperatures, the water needs to go somewhere but at the same time you don’t want the frost getting into the ground.

“The weather has been so unusual, you don’t normally have 70 millimetres of rain in a week and then go through four freezing nights ahead of a three-day fixture.”

At Chepstow conditions are currently soft, heavy in places, ahead of their National Hunt meeting on Tuesday.

Frost covers have been deployed over the track already as minus temperatures are expected overnight, and a precautionary inspection is due for 7.30am on Tuesday.

Newbury racecourse
Newbury racecourse (David Davies/PA)

Newbury’s Wednesday meeting will also be subject to a Tuesday inspection as staff are due to take a look at the track at 8.30am.

The going is currently heavy with waterlogged areas and temperatures as low as -5C are expected over Monday and Tuesday night.

Plumpton also race on Wednesday and the track is in a similar situation, with heavy ground covered by frost sheets ahead of the sub-zero temperatures likely over the next few nights.

Given the cold forecast, the British Horseracing Authority has added an extra all-weather meeting at Wolverhampton on Thursday, with entries closing on Tuesday and declarations on Wednesday.

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