Global Weekly Preview: Snow and scorching heat force global racing cancellations

J A McGrath

From one weather extreme to the other, the effects have been catastrophic and costly for global racing this week.

In North America, a brutal winter storm has struck coastal regions in the east, hitting parts of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina with their heaviest snowfall in nearly three decades.

Further North, Aqueduct in New York has been hit, with the New York Racing Association being forced to cancel racing at the track from January 4-7. This means there will be no racing scheduled there until January 11.

Training gallops at neighbouring Belmont have also been curtailed, with severe weather forcing a track closure until January 6.

Meanwhile, in Australia, Saturday’s meeting at Caulfield in Melbourne has been pushed back 24 hours to Sunday because of heat wave conditions forecast for the Victorian capital.

On Saturday afternoon, the temperature is expected to reach 40C (104F), which officials believe leaves horses in danger of physical harm. The rescheduled Mornington meeting, slotted in as a replacement fixture, has now been scrapped.

It seems a bizarre state of affairs that one major racing country should be frozen over, while another should be subject to intense heat and hard tracks that threaten to jar and break down horses.

Extreme weather is making it hard for trainers worldwide to prepare their key horses for the major races that loom on the horizon in both Hemispheres.