BHA to salvage only one race after flooding forces Huntingdon to cancel

Huntingdon was forced to call off Friday’s fixture after water burst through the banks surrounding the track, flooding the public enclosures and seeping on to the racecourse.

Track officials described their frustration at having to cancel a second fixture in a row, after also losing their Boxing Day meeting for the same reason, while trainer Nicky Henderson urged the BHA to consider rescheduling the card in its entirety for Sunday.

However, after consideration the BHA outlined that only the 2m4f novices' handicap chase would be restaged due to lack of similar suitable opportunities for horses in the coming weeks.

A spokesman said: “Whenever a fixture is lost there is always a process of evaluation as to whether specific opportunities have been lost and whether the program in its entirety has suffered, which is particularly relevant in periods of sustained and considerable fixture loss.

“Having been through that process for today’s fixture at Huntingdon, we are of the view that there are alternative opportunities for the horses declared to run today in the coming weeks with the exception of the novice handicap chase.

“We have offered out the opportunity to stage this race to racecourses with a deadline of Monday, and should a suitable replacement venue be found we will communicate that to trainers early next week.”

Overnight rain totalling 8mm had caused the brooks around the racecourse to fill significantly before bursting on Friday morning. The track passed an initial inspection at 11am but less than an hour later, and only around 45 minutes before the first race, the front of the grandstand had become totally flooded along with one of the public enclosures.

Jack Pryor, clerk of the course, said: “It’s more of a health and safety concern at the moment, but in the next hour it’s going to be on the racing line too, so we have to abandon.

“It’s very unfortunate timing and extremely frustrating to lose two [meetings] in a row. It’s just the timing of when the flood water has come.”