Monday, January 21, 2013
Fakenham’s race meeting on Thursday already looks in grave doubt as the course is covered in four inches of snow.
After nearly a week of freezing temperatures and with no sign of a let up, there is little chance of the snow shifting in time. To compound matters more snow is forecast.
Clerk of the course David Hunter said: “I’ve been away since Thursday and just got back and nothing has changed at all.
“We have not had the extreme cold we had early on last week, but the forecast is for more snow and I’m pretty sure we will be able to make the decision one way or the other on Tuesday.
“It might depend on Sunday night whether we do get snow and what the temperatures are. If it deteriorates I would bring the inspection forward if need be. We just have to hope and pray the forecasters may have got something wrong.”
Racing is set to take place on the all-weather tracks at Kempton and Wolverhampton today, although both meeting are the subject of morning inspections.
Aryal ran a race full of promise on his debut at Lingfield at the start of the month and normal improvement should make him difficult to beat in the BetVictor Cheltenham Festival Antepost Pioneers Median Auction Maiden Stakes at Kempton.
The son of Singspiel is bred to be pretty smart as a full-brother to Group-race winning mare Majounes Song and while it is clearly early days yet, it is certainly not out of the question Aryal could go on and make his mark at a similar level.
Carrying the colours of Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, the three-year-old was favourite for his racecourse introduction, but it was clear early on that he was going to learn plenty from the experience.
However, despite obvious signs of greenness, Aryal finished off his race well to be beaten just a neck into third by a couple of horses who had already made a couple of appearances.
Mark Johnston’s charge displayed enough speed to suggest this drop to a mile from 10 furlongs should not be an inconvenience and he sets a standard the newcomers could struggle to match.
Lowther appears to have found a new level of consistency since joining Lee Carter towards the end of 2012 and he gets the nod in the BetVictor Non Runner Free Bet At Cheltenham Handicap.