Ascot clerk provides update as rain is expected ahead of Champions Day

Ascot clerk of the course Chris Stickels is keeping a close eye on the inconsistent weather forecasts ahead of Qipco British Champions Day, but revealed the ground is likely to be no worse than soft.

At noon on Wednesday, the ground in the build-up to Britain's richest day of Flat racing remained good to soft. 

Fears of significant rainfall ahead of Saturday's card, which will see the swansong of unbeaten Baaeed in the Champions Stakes, are receding, with some forecasts suggesting that heavy rain in the south of England on Thursday could miss the Berkshire track.

"The ground at the moment, we are good to soft," said Stickels.

"The forecast is confusing, as there are different forecasts. We are not really sure. We are predicting between 5mm and 12mm between now and the end of racing.

"Thursday's forecast is a bit unclear. We are expecting a light shower or two overnight into Thursday, not amounting to a huge amount - 1.5mm to 2mm maybe.

"But then tomorrow morning, the rain band that is expected across the south of the country, there are conflicting forecasts as to whether or not we will get that or not. Some suggest we will, some suggest it will be further to the south of us. That is what is unclear. It could be anything from 7mm or 8mm to nothing.

"There is nothing to worry about really. If we get the rain we will end up with soft ground, if we don't, we won't. It will be good to soft.

"After tomorrow, there may be an odd shower on Friday evening and an odd shower on Saturday. It is going to be blustery."

This is an extremely busy time for the dual-purpose track, with jumps racing beginning in a fortnight.

With such a dry summer, the jumps track was parched in July but has been brought back to life by groundstaff and now looks immaculate.

Stickels said: "The jumps track is coming back well, so that's positive.

"The team have worked very hard. They have done a grand job. This is as busy a time of the year as there is for us - it is comparable to leading up to Royal Ascot.

"We raced the weekend before last and we have Champions Day this weekend, and in two weeks' time we are jumping.

"So there is an awful lot of work to do on the track in getting everything prepared and also there's the added possibility of using the jumps track for Champions Day, which makes it a little more challenging.

"The team have worked incredibly hard and it is great they won the RCA Dual Purpose Groundstaff Award earlier this year and it is nice they got recognised in that way."

READ MORE: Francis-Henri Graffard confident The Revenant is at the top of his game ahead of Ascot run

Latest news