By Peter Scargill 6:32AM 21 JAN 2017
ASCOT has been called off on Saturday with a 6.30am inspection finding the course to be frozen in places.
The card, featuring the Grade 1 Berkshire Community Foundation Clarence House Chase, had been in jeopardy due to the forecast freezing conditions and officials had no choice but to abandon the fixture despite areas of the track being covered.
Chris Stickels, clerk of the course at Ascot, said: “It’s -3C now and it will get colder when dawn arrives as it tends to do.
“With the course frozen in places and temperatures not due to get very high at all we had no chance unfortunately.”
Race and TV plans
With Ascot falling to the weather, there is now the prospect of the Clarence House Chase being saved and moved to Cheltenham next Saturday by the BHA.
BHA media manager Robin Mounsey said on Friday that a decision to reschedule would be made “as soon as possible” and that a new race would have fresh entries.
Taunton also has to survive an inspection at 9.30am on Saturday for racing to go ahead later in the day. There are no reported problems at Haydock, Lingfield, Newcastle or Navan.
The cancellation of Ascot has also resulted in a rejig of ITV’s coverage of racing on Saturday, and lead commenator Richard Hoiles wrote on Twitter: “As Ascot off ITV racing plan to show four from Haydock (now inc 1.30) and two from Taunton (if that survives inspection) on ITV4.”