Haydock ‘cautiously optimistic’ for Saturday despite storm warnings | Horse Racing News

Edward Whitaker

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Stormy weather is predicted for parts of Britain this week

Edward Whitaker

Racecourses in Britain and Ireland are bracing themselves for a second storm of the week, including at Haydock, where the ground is heavy for Saturday’s Grand National Trial fixture with the possibility of 20mm of rain to come.

Weather warnings have been issued in parts of Britain and across Ireland, with Storm Eunice on Friday set to follow Wednesday’s Storm Dudley, but Haydock officials are hopeful of their meeting going ahead.

Clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright said on Wednesday afternoon: “We’re cautiously optimistic. We’re heavy and raceable at the moment and it would need to deteriorate for us to have a problem, but you’d be a fool to say there’s no potential problem.

“The hurdle track is not too bad – if there are issues it will be one or two bits of the chase track. We’re forecast 20mm of rain in total, with 7-8mm coming on Friday, but it’s mild – the question of snow seems to have receded – and the strong winds are helping to dry things.”

There are also two Grade 2 contests at Haydock with the Rendlesham Hurdle and Albert Bartlett Prestige Novices’ Hurdle supporting the William Hill-sponsored National trial.

Ascot stages the Grade 1 Betfair Ascot Chase on Saturday and the going was on Wednesday described as soft with more rain forecast for Friday and Saturday.

The storms are expected to die down a little on Thursday before getting stronger on Friday when 70mph wind gusts are forecast at Fakenham, Lingfield and Southwell, while there is the possibility of snow at Kelso.

Met Éireann issued a rare triple weather warning on Wednesday with Storm Eunice expected to lash Ireland with snow, wind and rain in the coming days.

Storm Eunice is expected to arrive on Thursday night but, according to the racecourse managers at Gowran Park and Navan, racing should go ahead as planned this weekend.

Gowran Park manager Eddie Scally is looking forward to the Grade 3 Red Mills Hurdle Trial and the Grade 2 Red Mills Chase on Saturday where he anticipates the ground to come up heavy.

Scally said: “We can take a good bit of rain. We’d need an extreme event for racing to be in danger but we’re happy with where we are at the moment anyway.

“The worst of the storm seems to be coming in the north of the country so we’re not looking at having an inspection or anything like that. There’s up to 20mm of rain forecast and, if we get that, we’d be fine The ground would obviously go to heavy.”

Aidan McGarry, racecourse manager at Navan, said the track would be providing fresh ground on both tracks on Sunday.

He explained: “We can take plenty of rain. As things stand, there are no issues whatsoever but we’ll monitor the situation. There’s around 20mm forecast between now and Sunday. We’re in good shape.”

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