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Cheltenham and Lingfield abandoned

Updated: Saturday, 13 Dec 2008 14:54

Cheltenham and Lingfield abandoned

The weather continues to wreak havoc with race meetings, with persistent rain resulting in the surprise abandonment of Cheltenham's top-class meeting this afternoon.

More than a week of frost has given clerks of the course in Ireland and the UK headaches, but it is a threat of a different kind which has now seemingly taken hold.

Although rain was forecast overnight at Prestbury Park, track officials had not anticipated the volume that was to come their way.

The ground was changed to heavy first thing this morning after the track was hit by 16 millimetres of rain overnight, and although the track was initially described as raceable, officials announced a 9.30am inspection with the rain showing no signs of relenting.

The card was set to feature the Boylesports.com Gold Cup and the Boylesports.com International but after checking the track, officials were left with little option but to call off proceedings with surface water on parts of the course.

Cheltenham's managing director Andy Clifton said: ‘It's bad news I'm afraid and we've had to abandon the meeting.

‘We've had 26 millimetres of rain in the last 10 hours and it's still raining so there is surface water in various places.

‘The forecast is for it to continue raining and the only sensible decision to take is to call off the meeting.’

Lingfield were also victims of the wet weather, with their clerk of the course Neil MacKenzie Ross deciding to draw stumps half an hour before their scheduled inspection at 8am.

‘Unfortunately we have had to abandon the meeting due to waterlogging as we had around 10 millimetres of rain overnight,’ said MacKenzie Ross.

‘There are areas where the ground is unsafe and it is continuing to rain so racing cannot go ahead.’

There was better news over at Fairyhouse with the venue surviving an early-morning check.

The only National Hunt meeting taking place in Britain today will be at Doncaster, while there will also be all-weather action at Southwell and Wolverhampton this evening.