A HORSE RACE at Cheltenham was called off today as parts of the UK experienced the warmest day in April in almost 70 years.
Officials at the track decided the three-and-a-quarter mile JRL Group Mares Handicap Chase should be abandoned on welfare grounds. Other races over shorter distances went ahead as scheduled.
One horse, Dame Rose, collapsed and died after finishing fourth in the mares’ novices hurdle. After the race, two other horses were reported to be suffering from heat stress.
However, the governing British Horseracing Authority said the cause of Dame Rose’s death was not yet known and a post-mortem would be carried out.
Thermometers reached 26 degrees at Cheltenham, while temperatures in Central London went as high as 28 degrees.
The temperatures look set to stay at around 25 degrees tomorrow and Saturday.
However, the unseasonably warm weather may interfere with another sporting event on Sunday – the day of the London marathon.
It’s expected to be about 23 degrees on Sunday, which would make it the warmest London marathon on record.
The summery spell comes as a result of warm air from the Azores, off the coast of Portugal, being dragged up towards the UK by the combined efforts of an area of low pressure over the Atlantic and high pressure over western Europe.
Additional reporting by AFP