Kempton was almost snow-free on Friday but Sunday was abandonedPICTURE: Kempton Park
King George moved to Monday after inspection
KEMPTON clerk of the course Barney Clifford has announced Sunday's William Hill King George VI Chase meeting has been abandoned.
There is an inspection at 2pm on Sunday for Monday's card, which will include the rescheduled King George, featuring history-seeking Kauto Star, and the williamhill.com Christmas Hurdle if it goes ahead.
Speaking following Friday's midday inspection, Clifford said: "With temperatures forecast to rise to 3C on Monday morning, we are optimistic that racing will go ahead that day. Unfortunately, there is no prospect that the milder air will arrive in time for Boxing Day.
"Looking ahead the forecast for tonight is to reach -3C with a northerly wind which creates a chill factor of probably about -7C.
"Tomorrow night, we have got -4C or -5C. On Boxing Day the wind swings round to the south west and then we have 0C on Boxing Day night into the 27th with an indication of temperatures getting to 3C or 4C in the afternoon. As long as the temperature is 0C at 8am on the 27th we can start taking the covers off."
While Kempton's turf remains frost-free, the protective covers that were the track's only hope of racing, proved to be the undoing of the meeting, as 9cm of melted snow led to them freezing to the ground.
"There is no frost in the ground, but our protective covers are still frozen to the grass with some frozen snow on top of them, so we have no alternative but to abandon Boxing Day's racecard."
Clifford, who stressed "all my predictions are made on the forecast", remains optimistic that the rescheduled races will be able to take place on Monday as long as the forecast is correct.
Asked what would happen if the track fails to pass Sunday's inspection or any further inspections on Monday morning, he said: "Conversations are currently ongoing between the BHA, the sponsors William Hill, Kempton Park and the Levy Board.
"We have got a lot of conversations to have over the next couple of days, but hopefully we will get it on, although it is in continual discussion."
Barney Clifford: "we've lost the Feltham Novices' Chase"PICTURE: Edward Whitaker
The King George and Christmas Hurdle will be two of the races shown live on Channel 4, along with the Desert Orchid Chase. The Feltham Novices' Chase will not be taking place, however.
Clifford said: "We have lost the Feltham, but this contingency has been in place for many years and with the funding of racing a lot of people have to buy into the movement of these races.
"We all want to get them on as they are Kempton Park races. Losing the Feltham is not ideal, but we can only race an eight-race card and we only have so many daylight hours - 11.50am is an early start but we need to get those races that were programmed for the 27th on too."
Monday's eight-race card is set to start at 11.50am, with the Christmas Hurdle to be run at 2.40pm and the King George following at 3.15pm.
Advance bookings for Sunday are not valid on Monday and will be refunded.
Find out what the prospects are for forthcoming fixtures in Britain and Ireland with our at-a-glance table
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