Trainers give council welly when they struggle to get going in the snow

SUNDAY night’s snow prevented Yetholm trainers Clive Storey and Sandy Forster running three horses at Sedgefield this week, writes Sally Gillespie.

The narrow C road from the Roxburghshire village up the Halterburn valley to their yard was still unpassable by lorry on Tuesday though Scottish Borders Council (SBC) staff cleared it that afternoon.

Forster said: “We had a very irate Lancashire owner on the phone, who had stayed away on Monday night to come to Sedgefield. We couldn’t risk the horses or the lorry. One horse had a fair chance of being placed. The owners are paying training fees, we lost our entry money (£13-24 each horse), the jockeys missed out on their riding fee (£170-200 each) and, if we were lucky enough to pick up a place, we have missed out on some prize money.”

Storey rang SBC on Monday to ask for the steep hill to and from the village to be gritted.

“They said they would try, but that it was doubtful. I think it’s cost-cutting. Before, when we’ve phoned, they’ve always been really helpful. We only ring when we need to,” said Forster, who drives a 4x4 and uses grit from nearby bins when it’s available. “On Tuesday afternoon the local farmer rang because he needed to get lambs to auction yesterday (Wednesday) and council workers threw sand on the road from the back of the truck to clear it.

“But it was too late for us.”

A council spokesperson said: “Our gritters and snow ploughs have been out when required this week. We concentrate on A roads, major bus routes and the roads to hospitals, ambulance depots and fire stations (first, then) we focus on other main routes and residential access roads, before treating the remaining roads.”