Weather update: Britain hits record 104F

Race yards, studs and participants are negotiating another scorching day in Britain, with temperatures forecast to reach 41 degrees Celsius (105.8 degrees Fahrenheit).

Musselburgh’s seven-race match was the only one to go ahead, with meetings on July 19 at Southwell, Chelmsford and Wolverhampton having been canceled due to the forecasted heat. Ballinrobe in Ireland also raced, with its eight-jump card starting at 4:30 p.m.

The Met Office has issued a red warning for extreme heat across much of England, from London and the south east to Manchester and York, while an orange warning covers other parts of England and the Wales and part of Scotland.

Britain hits record high of 40C (104.36F)
The UK has reached its hottest temperature on record, with 40.2°C (104.36°F) recorded at Heathrow in London, according to provisional data from the Met Office.

The Met Office tweeted: “For the first time 40 degrees Celsius has been tentatively exceeded in the UK. London Heathrow reported a temperature of 40.2C at 12.50pm today.”

Register for

Charlwood, Surrey, hit 39.1C (102.38F) shortly before midday on Tuesday, beating the previous high of 38.7C at the Cambridge Botanic Garden in 2019.

Much of England remains under a red extreme heat warning, and forecasters warn it is likely to get hotter throughout the day, with temperatures as high as 41C (105.8F) forecast.

Britain’s heat wave has already broken several weather records, with Monday evening the highest daily minimum temperature on record.

Temperatures did not fall below 25°C (77°F) in places, surpassing the previous record high daily minimum of 23.9°C (75°F) recorded in Brighton on August 3, 1990.

Photo: Edward Whitaker/Racing Post

Chilled water and coffee for staff at Richard Hughes Stables in Upper Lambourn this week

What’s going on in Musselburgh?
Musselburgh is hosting Lucas Ice Cream Family Day – aptly named with the weather forecast – and racetrack manager Bill Farnsworth is expecting a great day on and off the track.

There are fairground rides, lots of ice cream and chill out areas when the heat gets too much. Extra staff will be on the course with plenty of drinking water and enough to ensure the horses cool down enough after the race.

Farnsworth said: “It should be an exciting racing day on the track. It’s a great family day so we’re very lucky with the weather. It’s a beautifully sunny summer weather.

“There will be lots of ice cream, popsicles and there will also be rides for the kids. It’s a brilliant day to get out and enjoy the space, we should have a good crowd, but there will be lots of space for children to enjoy the beautiful season.

“We are quite used to racing in these kinds of temperatures during the summer at Musselburgh; it is not uncommon for temperatures to go up to 29 C (84 F), 30 C (86 F). We are quite used to to handle the track in dry conditions, and the track is actually in fantastic condition for the horses.

“On the horse welfare front, we always have this first and foremost, when it’s hot it’s important to keep horses cool. They’re very good at acclimating to their surroundings. Horses can run at high temperatures and at low temperatures; if the horses acclimatise, they will have absolutely no problem with this.

“It’s the summer months and obviously they would be training in that weather. We’ll have plenty of water for them after the race so they can drink and also extra staff to throw water on the horses to cool them down right after the race.

“It’s no different for a human going for a run in this kind of weather, and when you get home you want to put your head under the tap to cool off. We’re looking forward to a really good day.”

How are the Work Riders doing?
Lots of talk has centered around how the horses are going to cope with this extreme weather and rightly so, but with the unprecedented heat, how will the staff cope?

The previous UK temperature record (38.7C, 101.66F) was nearly broken at Santon Downham and nearby Exning on Monday. Coach Julia Feilden took no chances with her rope, finishing the job around 9:30 a.m.

Feilden took to Twitter at 9:39 a.m. to share a video of amateur jockey Ross Birkett jumping into a water trough to cool off after a hot morning’s work, captioning “mornings to beat the heat, but Ross Birkett doesn’t care.” doesn’t come out so well, thank goodness for the drinkers!!’

In nearby Newmarket there was more excitement when trainer Phil McEntee shared a video of his stable staff enjoying the sunshine after an early morning finish with the caption “Team McEntee having fun in the sun this morning”.

Early morning start for trainers
Tuesday’s match at Musselburgh was played at 1.50pm, just like Ayr did on Monday, with temperatures forecast between 29C (84.F) and 30C (86F) and a potential peak of 32C (89.6F).

Due to the conditions, many trainers headed out for the early morning gallops. Suffolk-based trainer Gay Kelleway started at 3.45am and tweeted after his last batch finished at 7.30am to thank his team.

In Newmarket, temperatures had hit 30C by 9am and are expected to reach 39C (102.2F) by Tuesday afternoon, while other major training bases Lambourn and Malton are expected to experience the same.

Newmarket coach John Berry finished his batches at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, but was out even earlier on Tuesday. He worked his horses on the moor just after daybreak, when temperatures were around 22°C (71.6°F), which he described as “relatively cool or very hot, whatever the way we like to watch it” on Twitter.

About Florence M. Sorensen

Check Also

City to see lull in monsoon activity, no sign of retreat

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has declared the possibility of a decrease in rainfall intensity …