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Racing goes ahead at Royal Ascot following torrential rain

Downpours have turned the ground soft, heavy in places.

Racegoers carrying umbrellas arrive for day four of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse.
Racegoers carrying umbrellas arrive for day four of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse.
Image: PA

Updated Jun 18th 2021, 1:53 PM

THE FOURTH DAY of Royal Ascot will go ahead as planned after the track passed a lunchtime inspection.

A total of 26 millimetres of rain had fallen the Berkshire venue up to 11am, turning the ground from good to firm on Thursday to soft, heavy in places.

Some areas of false ground caused concern for officials, with clerk of the course Chris Stickels calling a 12.45pm inspection to assess the chances of racing going ahead and Ascot outlining contingencies for cancellation, which included provision for a 10-race card on Saturday.

However, following a lengthy assessment of conditions by a delegation of officials, trainers and jockeys, the fixture was given the green light.

A report from the stewards read: “An inspection was held as a result of concerns over the ground following significant overnight rainfall. Riders, Frankie Dettori, Oisin Murphy and Ryan Moore; Trainers; Aidan O’Brien, Ralph Beckett, and Richard Hannon; the Clerk of the Course representing the Managing Executive, the BHA Senior Course Inspector, and the BHA Director of Equine Health and Welfare were interviewed.

“Having considered the evidence, the Stewards were satisfied that racing could commence.”

Trainer Ralph Beckett was part of the delegation that checked the course, and told ITV Racing: “It’s pretty soft, but it’s safe and it will be fine.

“They’ll move a few rails around, the stalls for the Coronation will be moved so that they keep off the used ground.

“There’s always a difference between the straight and the round course. On the straight course while it may be loose on top it has a very firm base and not far from the top, so however wet it looks they quickly go through to a much quicker base.

“In my opinion it’s fine. I’m sure they’ll keep reviewing it and keep talking to the jockeys through the day – if I was a betting man I would bet on us getting through the card.”

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