The Warwickshire’s team chase has been cancelled due to the severe impact the extended dry spell has had on the course.
The fixture was scheduled to be the first of the 2018 autumn season on 2 September at Watergall (not pictured), with the exception of the arena team chase at Lands Eventing.
The cancellation serves a further blow to the 2018 British Team Chasing calendar, which suffered a much depleted spring fixture list due to ice, snow and heavy rain.
But the organisers have pledged to turn the disappointing news into a positive, using the time to improve the course and hedges for 2019.
The committee made the tough decision after walking the course last week following “fears regarding the ground”.
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“As a result of the extremes of weather that we suffered last winter and have endured this summer, the ground has taken an absolute battering,” said a statement from the organisers.
“Despite being really good, reliable old turf, the drought has really sapped all life out of the course and caused large holes and cracks to appear in front of the hedges and sporadically around the whole track.
“The committee discussed at length the different options that we had regarding the condition of the ground, but ultimately it was decided that the safety of the competitors and horses must always come first and may be put at risk if we were to run the event.”
All entries will be refunded.
“Everyone is absolutely shattered by the decision but we will endeavour to use the year off to improve the course, lay new hedges and let our existing hedges get bigger and better for 2019.
“We hope that you enjoy the rest of the team chasing season as there are many other events on close to Warwickshire.”
The next fixture in the British Team Chasing calendar is the Belvoir at Garthorpe on 9 September.
“Please go and support them and British Team Chasing, it is a great event,” added the statement.
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