ROYAL ASCOT is at risk of being abandoned today due to the torrential rain – with a crucial inspection called for 12.45pm.
Bookies are currently predicting that any racing taking place today hangs on a knife edge.
Racegoers arrived with umbrellas in hand as the rain continued to fallCredit: PA
The entire day’s racing hangs in the balance after a deluge of rain overnightCredit: PA
Already at the time of writing there have been a massive 18 horses named non-runners.
And more could be pulled out as rain continues to hammer the Berkshire track.
Betfair did have racing today as 6-5 to go ahead, and 4-7 not to go ahead.
However, that looked slightly more promising as the morning wore on, with it 5-6 for both before further rain increased the chances of it being off.
It is hoped an easing in conditions will allow racing to continue and 12,000 punters to enjoy the action.
Ascot clerk of the course Chris Stickels explained the situation to ITV this morning – and later admitted the day’s action was ‘at risk’.
He said water was starting to ‘puddle’ on the course after 20mm of rain between yesterday and early this morning.
Stickels said: “I’m about to walk the course now with stewards, which is a standard course of action.
“I understand water is starting to puddle out there in the odd place. The rain has been torrential.
Ascot looked a different picture to the first three days following the deluge of rainCredit: PA
Hopeful racegoers arrived in the rain on FridayCredit: PA
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“It’s been steady and conditions will continue to deteriorate.
“We will need to have an inspection.”
The first race is due off at 2.30pm so at least there is time for the ground to improve before then, providing the rain stops.
Stickels added: “There is a risk to racing if it keeps raining.
Ascot racegoers arrived armed with umbrellas amid the rainCredit: PA
Conditions were wet underfoot as punters prowled the perimeter of the courseCredit: PA
“That obviously has to be the case. We’ve had an inch of rain already and if it continues to rain really heavily there has to be a risk.
“As I’m talking the rain has just eased off, which is good, and I think the worst of the heavy rain could be passed now, although we could be due some thundery showers later.
“I’m just starting to walk the track again. It was soft at 7.30am but we’ve now had 25mm of rain since racing yesterday and it has come earlier than forecast, which has been quite a surprise.”
Racegoers had to avoid the puddles on their way into the groundsCredit: PA
Umbrellas were very much the order of the dayCredit: PA
A later update said the running rails could be repositioned to allow horses to miss the bad ground.
One option should racing be called off today is for TEN races to be held on Saturday.
That would mean the Coronation Stakes, Commonwealth Cup and King Edward VII Stakes being moved from Friday to Saturday.
Royal Ascot was previously hit by bad weather in 2016 and 2019 – but racing continued unaffected in both years.
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