Bugs have forced racing to be cancelled at two British racecourses this week.

Salisbury has abandoned today’s race card and Epsom has called off Thursday’s (13 September) fixture after chafer grubs were found on both courses.

Chafer grubs — the larvae form of the chafer beetle — cause problems as they feed on grass roots and predators dig up the turf to eat them, both of which cause damage to the grass and result in loose turf, making it dangerous to race on.

A spokesman for Salisbury racecourse said: “Unfortunately all racing at Salisbury racecourse for today has been abandoned due to the discovery of loose turf on the loop section of the course, believed to be as a consequence of chafer grub damage, which has appeared overnight.

“The straight course is believed to be unaffected and is being assessed today. Safety is the most important consideration and therefore racing is abandoned today.”

Andrew Cooper, clerk of the course at Epsom Downs, said the racecourse is “very disappointed to lose the fixture”.

“This is a problem that can arise overnight and was identified earlier today during a routine walk of the course ahead of racing on Thursday,” said Mr Cooper.

“We immediately contacted the British Horseracing Authority’s senior inspector of courses, Richard Linley, who inspected the course late afternoon.

“We agreed it was necessary on safety grounds to abandon this week’s racing.

“We will immediately start remedial works on the affected areas and in due course review the raceability of this season’s one remaining fixture on 30 September.”

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All customers who have bought tickets will receive an automatic full refund to the card used for payment.

Hospitality guests will be contacted by telephone.

Epsom Downs members will be able to gain free entry to either the 14 or 19 September fixtures at Sandown Park on presentation of their membership badge or card in lieu of this fixture.

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