The Beast from the East - I'm sure we've all seen and heard enough about it now. Oh to be 10 again, when snow was exciting and meant a day off school, sledging with your mates. Two days of very heavy snow fall has the yard hidden under a heavy white blanket. Anna and Berni have been delivering food to the guests in Sun Hill Lodges, some of which have been too worried to venture out themselves, preferring instead to take refuge in the hot-tubs. Unfortunately, the horrendous weather resulted in the abandonment of Newcastle on Wednesday evening, where we thought that Gorse would run well in a race that he had every chance of winning. Many more meetings have been lost and with temperatures still below 0, I don't hold out a lot of hope for those scheduled over the next day or two. Jump racing trainers will have everything crossed that the 'Jumper's Bumper' cards survive tomorrow at Southwell and Saturday at Newcastle. Occassionally, when the weather is really bad and lots of Jump meetings have fallen foul, a whole card of flat races will be held specifically for National Hunt (ie. Jump) horses. A National Hunt Flat race, or a 'bumper' as it is more commonly known, is for horses aged 4, 5 and 6 (there's also junior bumpers for 3 year olds), that haven't raced 'under rules', either on the flat or over jumps. You are usually limited to running a horse in four bumpers. If you start a horses career in a flat race or over hurdles/fences, you cannot go back to run in a bumper. We don't jump horses on all-weather tracks in Britain, so the best alternative is to host 'Jumper's Bumpers' open to all horses, regardless of how many hurdle/chase starts they've had, though each race will have different conditions and criteria. Hopefully we will see some racing soon - though the all-weather surface doesn't really seem to mean all-weather!