WITH temperatures set to soar this weekend, possibly as high as 32°C on Monday, racecourses are doing everything possible to minimise the risk of dehydration and heat exhaustion in racehorses.

The mercury could rise to 26°C at the Curragh today and possibly touch 28°C on Sunday. Racecourse manager Brian Kavanagh said: “We have received very helpful advice from [IHRB chief veterinary officer] Lynn Hillier to ensure that the horses are adequately catered for and will be prioritising this with her team and our own vets.

“There will be extra water supplies, buckets and scrapers for both drinking and washing down in the stable yard, saddling/unsaddling areas and winners’ enclosure.”

Jump racing over longer distances poses an additional risk but Tipperary manager Andrew Hogan is not too concerned ahead of Sunday’s National Hunt card there. “This isn’t our first time in this situation,” he said. “In 2018 this fixture took place during an extreme drought.

“One point to make is that we have had warm weather for a few weeks now and horses can acclimatise. But we will be providing extra water everywhere. There is a trough in the pull-up area, buckets all along the horsewalk from the stableyard to the parade ring – anywhere a horse will be. We’re even providing iced water for jockeys and stable staff, and free bottles of water for all racegoers.”

All racecourses have at least two veterinary surgeons on duty on racedays and there will be three working at Ballinrobe on Monday when temperatures are forecast to exceed 30°C. It should be cooler when racing starts at 5.30pm and Monday’s card is flat racing only, which is a help.

Course manager John Flannelly said: “We will have a tank of water available just past the finish line, as we did last year. There will be a lot of water laid on in all areas and we have seven washbays available. It’s forecast to be cooler on Tuesday when we race over jumps.”

In Britain, where temperatures are forecast to hit 40°C on Sunday, five fixtures across Monday and Tuesday have been cancelled due to extreme heat warnings by the Met Office. Monday’s meetings at Beverley and Windsor and the Tuesday fixtures at Chelmsford, Southwell and Wolverhampton are abandoned.