Extreme temperatures are forecast for Monday and Tuesday in England

Five UK meetings canceled with temperatures forecast to reach 40C | Horse racing news

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Extreme temperatures are forecast for Monday and Tuesday in England

John Phillips/Getty Images

By Peter Scargill and David Carr

Five UK racing events on Monday and Tuesday have been canceled due to extremely high temperatures forecast.

Monday’s games in Beverly and Windsor will not go ahead, and neither will Tuesday’s games in Chelmsford, Southwell and Wolverhampton, following the BHA’s decision yesterday to abandon the cards after the Met Office issued a red for the first time weather warning for extreme heat.

Record temperatures of up to 40C are forecast for Monday and Tuesday, with the UK continuing to be gripped by a prolonged bout of hot and dry weather, prompting the Met Office to extend the red weather warning for much of central, north, east and and South East England.

Areas covered by the alerts include the five courses where races have been cancelled. The Met Office said the heat has the potential to have “population-wide adverse health effects that can result in serious illness and the risk of death.

It urged “significant changes in work practices and daily routines” to deal with the impact of the conditions and urged to limit travel where possible.

Richard Wayman, BHA’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “BHA’s top priority in running any event is the welfare of everyone involved, man and horse.

“Following the Met Office’s first-ever Extreme Heat Warning, we are taking reasonable precautions and have taken a decision as quickly as possible to provide reassurance to those affected.”

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Richard Wegman:

Richard Wayman: “The welfare of everyone involved, man and horse, is a priority”

Three of the five affected courses are operated by Arena Racing (Arc), which initially brought Tuesday’s jump meeting forward from 1pm to 10am to mitigate rising temperatures.

However, Mark Spincer, managing director of Arc’s racing division, said: “We fully support the decision to cancel the games planned for Monday and Tuesday at our racecourses.

“We have been in close dialogue with colleagues at the BHA during this period of warmer weather and have worked with a range of resources to support horses and people working at our racecourses.

“While we had taken steps to mitigate the higher temperatures originally forecast for Monday and Tuesday, including moving Southwell’s race times to earlier in the day, the latest Met Office updates and warnings issued made it clear that it was among the best to give up the interests of all parties involved.

“We will be in touch shortly with all customers who have had bookings for these racing events and thanks to the BHA team for acting quickly in the changing circumstances.”

Beverley had taken additional measures for Monday’s meeting, including additional on-site veterinary care, dedicated horse cooling staff and the ability to use the shaded pre-parading ring instead of the main paddock.

In response to the decision to abandon the race, Managing Director Sally Iggulden said: “It needed a decision. We could have continued to wait and monitor, but everyone needs to make plans for staff and travel. This is purely a welfare decision and it was good to follow government advice not to travel.

“At this point it’s the right decision – we can only follow official expert advice on what the forecast is: even if the temperature drops a bit, it’s still going to be extremely hot.”

Stratford has already changed race times for its meeting on Sunday, when Newton Abbot is confident it will be able to cope with temperatures not expected to rise above 26C. A total of 35 horses have been entered for seven races at Stratford, while 38 will compete in seven races at Newton Abbot, continuing the worrying trend of small field sizes.

The heat is not expected to be as severe on Saturday when Market Rasen will have an additional covered washing area for its permanent horse cooling fans.

The UK race is scheduled to take place in Ayr and Cartmel on Monday and Musselburgh on Tuesday.

Cartmel has an amber weather warning for heat where maximum temperatures are forecast to be 26C and cCourse Instructor Anthea Leigh said: “We’ve been in contact with Sally Taylor from the BHA’s Veterinary Department and we’ve done well with the temperatures the Met Office is showing during the race.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and see if we need to move the race times earlier, but for now we are sticking with the agreements as they are.”

It is predicted that the heat will not have an adverse effect on Ireland’s racing program in the coming days, with Curragh and Tipperary hosting a meeting in Ballinrobe at the weekend when maximum temperatures will hover at 29C.

Ballinrobe manager John Flannelly said: “Monday will be warm but it should be fine as we race in the evening at Hof – we’re well prepared.”

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