At a time when most news coming out of Ireland is economic doom and gloom, one Irish policy being taken up in Britain is that of super flexibility when it comes to rearranging significant race days, writes Elliot Slater.
Fairyhouse’s triple Grade 1 meeting has been moved so many times that it would not be in the least bit surprising if the majority of racegoers turn up on the wrong day when eventually the weather does release its icy grip, whilst Punchestown have also moved their John Durkan Memorial Chase feature in an effort to not give up on one of the major events of their winter schedule.
Taking a leaf out of the Irish racing book, Huntingdon racecourse has decided to move their scheduled Thursday fixture, (which includes their big race of the year, the Grade 2 TS Peterborough Chase), to Sunday December 12. With the course currently covered in snow there is no way the track could be readied in time for the original date, but with the weather forecast strongly suggesting that a thaw is due to set on before the weekend, the move looks one that might eventually pay rich dividends.
The £65,000 guaranteed two-and-a-half mile contest has attracted a potentially smart field, including last year’s winner, the Evan Williams-trained Deep Purple, high class two-miler Twist Magic and his Paul Nicholls-trained stable companions The Nightingale, Breedsbreeze and Take The Breeze, Nicky Henderson’s very progressive Riverside Theatre, and smart northern raiders Kalahari King and Master Medic, amongst 16 five-day declarations.
With so much racing having been lost in recent weeks, those looking at irish horse racing tips are desperate for showpiece events such as the Peterborough Chase and this weekend’s big Cheltenham fixture to beat the freeze, and the initiative shown by the executive of Huntingdon racecourse should be applauded. Let’s hope that despite the chilly weather the public comes out in numbers to support the rescheduled fixture.