Blue skies and sunshine but Yarmouth had a wet patch embarrassment
ON ONE of the hottest September days in decades Yarmouth narrowly avoided an embarrassing cancellation after a wet area was discovered near the four furlong pole.
An inspection was held and it was decided racing could go ahead, but with the 5f last race (5.20pm) abandoned due to the start’s proximity to the patch of softer ground.
With this the first card of the three-day Eastern meeting at Yarmouth, an inspection will be held on Wednesday at 9am to ascertain whether the track is safe to race on. The card’s five furlong race (5.05pm) has also been scrapped.
Stipendiary steward Robert Sidebottom said: “When we arrived here this morning we were alerted by the clerk of the course that he was concerned about a patch of ground that was softer.
“The jockeys looked at it and then we decided to inspect; we all agreed the patch was slightly softer, but the jockeys felt they would be able to avoid it as it’s quite small.”
Although initial speculation suggested the turf issue could be related to the track’s watering, clerk of the course Richard Aldous was confident the wet patch culprit lay elsewhere.
He said: “When we finished watering last night the hydrant down there was shut off so we don’t think it’s that.
“There is an irrigation system that runs across there from the golf course which has been in operation, so perhaps it’s that.”
Jon Pullin, racing operations director of Yarmouth’s owner Arc, later added: “At this stage it is believed it may relate to the irrigation system at the adjacent independently-owned golf course which, as a precaution, has been turned off.
“Arc and Great Yarmouth racecourse regret that this situation has occurred. In recognition of the travelling costs and inconvenience to connections of the fourteen horses that were declared to run [in Tuesday’s five furlong race], Arc will make a payment of £250 to each one.”
Pullin added he expected the track to pass Wednesday morning’s inspection.
“It is not anticipated that there will be any further problems and racing should continue with the starting stalls moved from the centre of the course to the stands side on the straight course for the remainder of the meeting,” he said.
“Given the warm afternoon the small area of affected ground is improving, however, it been decided to remove the 5 furlong race from tomorrow afternoon’s card as a preventative measure.”
Yarmouth has a troubled recent history with its turf and from mid September 2014 to June 2016 just two full racedays took place as the track attempted to remove ridges that had developed on the straight.
The new surface has received good reviews since racing resumed this summer, however.
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