Weather may hamper weekend racing

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  • The arctic snap is throwing Saturday’s racing into chaos. Both Sandown’s big meeting and the fixture at Wetherby have to pass 7.30am inspections and officials at Uttoxeter will take a look at the Midlands course at 7.00am.

    All three tracks are battling against snow and ice and are banking on a risein temperature overnight.

    Sandown is hoping to stage the Agfa Hurdle, which provides Rooster Booster, one of the favourites for the Champion Hurdle, with a chance to further his claims to the hurdling crown.

    There is also a cracking race for the Scilly Isles Novices Chase, in which the immaculate jumper, Farmer Jack could be challenged by Telemoss and Tarxien.

    If Wetherby survives the snow and frost, northern racegoers will have a chance to cast a critical eye over Jonjo O’Neill’s Cheltenham hope, the highly rated Rhinestone Cowboy in the Gerrard Novices’ Hurdle.

    After a couple of impressive shows over hurdles, Rhinestone Cowboy finds himself among the market leaders for both the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Champion Hurdle in March.

    O’Neill parades another potential champion, Keen Leader, depending on the weather he will either run in the Weatherbys Towton Novices’ Chase, or in Sandown’s ‘Scilly Isles’.

    Wherever he runs, Keen Leader will put his prospects on the line for the SunAlliance Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

    Others from O’Neill’s string of talented jumpers, Mini Sensation and Iris’s Gift, will be hard to beat at Uttoxeter. Mini Sensation, hero of the Welsh National, has Frosty Canyon and Jurancon 11 to beat in what will be a stamina sapping warm-up for the Singer & Friedlander National Trial.

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