Heavy snow and deep freeze could disrupt Musselburgh’s big day
MUSSELBURGH is braced for “an interesting few days” of weather which could disrupt preparation for the track’s big day on Sunday.
Scottish Cheltenham Trials Day has lured strong entries to the East Lothian circuit, but heavy snow and freezing temperatures have been forecast.
Clerk of the course Harriet Graham nonetheless remains upbeat the meeting can defeat the elements.
She said: “At this stage, we are moderately confident of racing. “It is, however, a very tricky forecast. “I have spoken to the Met Office and they have pretty high confidence we will have a few more heavy snow showers in the next 24 hours. The snow is meant to have moved through by Friday, which will hopefully give us the chance to put down further covers.
“The take-off and landing areas are covered, but we have to wait for the snow to pass through before we can take any further action.
“Overnight temperatures are also due to get to around minus 1C, possibly minus 2C. “It will be an interesting few days.” Meanwhile Nicky Henderson is aiming to better his already impressive record in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on Saturday week.
No trainer has won Europe’s most valuable handicap hurdle as many as the five times which Henderson has tasted success, most recently in 2013 with subsequent Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and Champion Hurdle runner-up My Tent Or Yours.
Sharpical, Geos (twice) and Landing Light are the other names from Seven Barrows on the roll of honour and this year he looks sure to have more than one runner.
Sign Of A Victory, tailed off behind Champion Hurdle favourite Faugheen at Kempton over Christmas, looks set to take his chance but would not like very soft ground.
Vasco Du Ronceray is another who looks sure to run having been given a break since winning at Haydock, while Dawalan, in the same ownership, is another possible although is pencilled in for Musselburgh on Sunday. Henderson would also consider running Snake Eyes but he has little hope of making the cut at this stage.
“We got a bit into a muddle with Sign Of A Victory and I can’t believe you saw him at his best at Kempton,” said Henderson.
“But as I say it wasn’t the horse’s fault. He is coming in from a nice preparation and has done two nice bits of work. He is in good form and I hope it stays dry.
“He’d have to run very well to go for the Champion Hurdle
“The other one I hope will be definitely in attendance will be Vasco Du Ronceray.
“He’s always looked as if he would be all right, but things didn’t quite go his way last year and we had a few issues.
“He came out and was good the first time and he hasn’t run since. He went a bit quiet on us, then again the last couple of weeks he has been in very good form.
“So, he’ll be at least where he was when he first came out at Haydock.
“He is sharp enough, he’ll handle the ground. “He’d have a realistic chance I hope. “Dawalan would only run if Musselburgh on Sunday – when the idea is to get him Pertemps qualified – is off, I want to run him up there as he must have good ground.
“I’m not sure if I want to be taking horses all the way up there if I couldn’t be sure it was going to be on, though.”