Royal Ascot could start on soft ground following more rain

Wet Ascot

Umbrellas might be needed for racegoers at Ascot this week

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

 By Bruce Jackson 5:35PM 13 JUN 2016 

ROYAL ASCOT is likely to begin on soft ground following rain at the track yesterday.

There has been 29mm of rain at the track since Friday, with the chance of showers on Monday evening. The forecast remains unsettled, with the chance of more showers until Friday before a dry forecast for the weekend.

The ground is officially good to soft, soft in places on the round course with yesterday’s GoingStick readings of 6.9 on the straight course and 6.3 on the round course.

This year’s royal meeting is set to have its softest ground start in modern times and Ascot clerk of the course Chris Stickels said: “It’s nearly soft all over. We’ve had softer ground during a royal meeting and last year’s King George meeting had lower GoingStick readings after 30mm of rain.”

Stickels reported the straight course readings suggesting the middle of the track could be a shade slower than either rail but does not expect there to be a significant draw bias.

Ascot royal procession

The royal procession still plans to make its way up the one-mile straight

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Royal procession goes ahead as planned

The traditional royal procession of four horse-drawn carriages is expected to go ahead as planned up the track’s one-mile straight, notwithstanding ground softened significantly by heavy rain in the last few days.

Head of communications Nick Smith said that it is “not without precedent” for the royal party to arrive by road instead, but added that it had not happened in his 17 years at the track and there is no talk of it yet this year.

He said: “I can’t remember it happening in my time but I know there have been occasions in the past that the procession has decamped and had a vehicle arrival, so it’s not without precedent. I understand that it’s not a decision that is taken until later on, but there are no concerns at present and so that discussion has not taken place.”

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