THERE was more frustrating news for Ffos Las Racecourse when its scheduled meeting for Thursday (February 11) became the latest race fixture to be cancelled because of the wintry conditions.

There were 82 runners declared for the meeting, and expectations earlier in the week were that the ground would be heavy - but organisers hoped conditions would improve with a drying wind.

Former Coral Scottish Grand National winner Joe Farrell, trained by Rebecca Curtis, was entered in the hunters' chase, with the seven scheduled races set to be screened live on Sky Sports.

Despite huge efforts from the ground staff to cover parts of the course, it was announced on Wednesday morning that, after a precautionary inspection, the meeting had been abandoned.

The chase and hurdle bends had been moved onto fresh racing line, and take off and landing areas were covered with frost sheets, but with parts of the track frozen, and temperatures not forecast to rise sufficiently for it to thaw, the decision was taken to cancel the fixture.

“With fixtures across the UK under threat from the cold weather this week, we have taken all the precautions we can to protect the track ahead of our meeting on Thursday,” said general manager Simon Rowlands in his weekly column on the Ffos Las website.

“The running rails on both the chase and hurdle courses have been moved to provide fresh ground, and we have also laid frost covers on the take offs and landing areas.

“The ground staff team started and finished in the dark to get the work completed, I’m lucky to have such a professional, hard working team.

“There is a debate within racing at the moment about how late courses leave the decision on whether they can race when conditions are cold and frosty.

“The situation occurred at Ffos Las last month and it happened again last week at our sister course Sedgefield when several jockeys including James Bowen made the long journey north only to see the meeting abandoned at 12.30pm after four course inspections.

“Opinion on the issue does seem to be divided, with some observers believing we should give racing every chance of going ahead, and others thinking we should make an early call.

“I think that if we genuinely believe racing has a chance of proceeding we should, after taking careful consideration of the weather forecast, try our best to make it happen.”

The next fixture at Ffos Las Racecourse is scheduled for Thursday, 1 April.