Horse Racing: Leger festival goes ahead despite rain.



IT is all systems go for the four-day Ladbrokes St Leger Festival at Doncaster this week despite the seemingly never-ending rain that has afflicted the country.

The South Yorkshire venue has soaked up 230 millimetres of moisture in the last two months and more than 40 millimetres last week.

However, the track is described as being in "good fettle" while the going is good to soft, soft in places on the straight course and soft, good to soft on the round course.

Clerk of the course David Williams said: "I'm quite pleased because the sun's come out today. I don't think we've seen the sun for more than an hour over the last three weeks.

"Tomorrow is set to be quite a reasonable day though we might get the odd shower. Tuesday is looking like more rain but the forecast changes all the time.

"At least the forecast is more showery than persistent rain. In the last seven days we've had a total of just over 40mm and since the beginning of July we had 230mm. It's been a wet July and August but the track is in good fettle. We've not raced since August 2nd.

"My biggest problem at the moment is getting the grass dry enough so I can cut it."

The four-day event starts on Wednesday and culminates in the final Classic of the season. The Ladbrokes St Leger is the centrepiece of an eight-race card thanks to the addition of Haydock's Sprint Cup being transferred from yesterday's abandoned meeting at the Merseyside track. "It's an absolutely brilliant card," Williams said. After the loss of all turf meetings on Saturday there was respite yesterday with Thirsk, Fontwell and Leopardstown getting the go-ahead.

Today's two remaining turf meetings at Bath and Folkestone are set to take place but prospects are not promising tomorrow with problems at Beverley, Leicester and Lingfield.

Leicester is subject to a 3.30pm inspection today due to the threat of waterlogging. Officials at Beverley will take a look at 3pm.

Today's meeting at Newcastle was called off on Saturday.

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