Hopes rise for Haydock

Officials at Haydock are “pretty hopeful” Saturday’s meeting will go ahead after the course surprisingly passed a Thursday morning inspection.

Prospects of racing at the Merseyside venue appeared bleak on Wednesday, with the ground already described as heavy, waterlogged in places and further rain expected from Storm Christoph.

It was widely expected that a fixture featuring four Grade Two races would be abandoned after clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright called an inspection for 8am on Thursday morning.

However, despite a further 35 millimetres of rain falling on Wednesday, and many parts of the north-west suffering from flooding, Tellwright reported conditions at Haydock to be raceable.

He said: “It is remarkable – we’re fit to race today.

“I suppose we can take certain quantities of rain – and beyond that, it’s just going down the drain.”

A further precautionary inspection has been called for 8am on Saturday morning because of the threat of frost.

Tellwright added: “We’ve called a precautionary inspection for Saturday morning, just to cover us for the forecast frost.

“We’d be pretty hopeful that shouldn’t be an issue. It (the course) is under frost covers. They won’t work as well as they would on dry ground, but we’ll cross our fingers and expect to race.

“In terms of rain, we’re forecast the odd shower, but nothing in the context of what we’ve had in the previous three days.”

Elsewhere, both Ludlow and Wincanton passed 8am inspections for Thursday’s seven-race cards.

At Ludlow, the ground is heavy, soft in places, on the hurdles course and soft over fences – while at Wincanton it is heavy all round.

Friday’s card at Ffos Las was abandoned following an inspection on Thursday morning, with the ground waterlogged, while racing at Musselburgh the same day is subject to a precautionary 8am check, with freezing temperatures the concern.

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