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Haydock to inspect as Storm Eunice takes its toll

Saturday’s Grand National Trial meeting at Haydock must survive a morning inspection after three of Friday’s scheduled fixtures were lost due to the effects of Storm Eunice.

Fakenham officials decided on Thursday to call off Friday’s card, while Lingfield and Southwell held inspections at 8am and 10am respectively.

Lingfield’s all-weather track was due to stage a seven-race card, but with some runners struggling to get to the track due to the high winds, the safety of the participants took precedent.

A red weather warning has been issued for parts of the south east, with people advised to stay indoors, and it was felt it would be dangerous to ask people to travel to the track before racing if adverse conditions came into play.

Acting clerk of the course Stephanie Wethered said: “We’ve called it off because of the red weather warning. There’s also high wind gusts and we’ve made the call because of that.”

Southwell’s twilight meeting was due to get under way at 4.45pm, but clerk of the course Sophie Candy called it off due to the gale force winds.

Up in the Scottish Borders at Kelso, however, racing was given the green light.

The clerk there, Matthew Taylor, had also called an 8am inspection due to the adverse weather forecast – but while rain, sleet and high winds are still on the agenda, the meeting has survived with the going soft, heavy in places.

Taylor tweeted: “INSPECTION PASSED @KelsoRacecourse
Going is SOFT, HEAVY (5.5) after 4mm rain this morning. A cold and cloudy day with outbreaks of rain. Windy this afternoon. Will continue to monitor the weather situation throughout the day.”

Haydock’s clerk Kirkland Tellwright is hoping the worst of the weather will have passed through by the time racing is due to take place on Saturday.

An 8am precautionary check has been called due to the threat of further rain on already heavy ground.

He said: “The main concern around this stormy weather has been the wind, which would be a problem on a raceday but shouldn’t be an issue the day before.

“I think when Saturday comes it’ll be blustery, but having walked the course a couple of times I’m pretty optimistic that we’ll get through.

“It’s very heavy at one or two fences so we might be bypassing them – I’ve taken the second fence out in the back straight as a precaution so it gives us more options.”

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