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Newcastle anticipating rain ahead of Fighting Fifth highlight

Newcastle officials are bracing themselves for a stormy spell of weather ahead of their big meeting on Saturday, featuring the Betfair Fighting Fifth Hurdle.

As much as 20 millimetres of rain could fall overnight on Friday and into Saturday, coupled with strengthening winds.

Clerk of the course James Armstrong described the ground as good, good to soft in places on Thursday but expects conditions to have eased come the first race at 11.45am on Saturday.

“It’s been pretty well publicised the weather has been fairly iffy on and off all week. The forecast has been changing every day but the latest forecast is we are due more rain starting tomorrow, pretty heavy through Friday night into Saturday,” said Armstrong.

“We’re looking at anything between 10 and upwards of millimetres of rain. We could get up to 20mm. It looks more likely to be wintry, slushy stuff with us but on the higher ground over the Pennines they are taking about some quite significant snow.

“Thankfully we’re close to the coast but that leaves us a bit more vulnerable to the winds, so we’ve got a few things to contend with. We’ve got the wind to worry about but I think the issue regarding wintry showers is a less of a concern, thankfully, being closer to the coast.

“We started the week with good ground on Monday and have been watering away. We put on near 20mm on the home straight this week and between five and eight on the rest of the course.

“We’re good, good to soft in places and obviously any rain that comes via nature’s assistance in the next two days will see things ease, possibly a fair bit more. It could turn to good to soft, maybe easier, depending on how it falls and when.”