Aintree Grand National News: Clerk going softly softly with watering as rain expected

Aintree Clerk of the course Sulekha Varma faces a balancing act to produce the best ground possible for the Randox Aintree Grand National on April 9 but is resisting over-watering where possible.

Aintree Clerk of the course Sulekha Varma is aiming to avoid the Cheltenham watering debacle and produce prime racing ground for the Randox Aintree Grand National on Saturday, April 9.

Cheltenham officials were criticized for watering the Cotswolds track before torrential rain turned the course heavy but Aintree are resisting any unnecessary artificial easing of the going.

7.5mm of rain overnight on Sunday into Monday meant the official going was changed to good to soft and with further rain forecast, Varma isn't reaching for the sprinklers just yet.

She said: "We are not expecting a deluge, but certainly expecting rain over the next couple of days. There is still some uncertainty in the forecast.

"We had a good drop of rain - 7.5mm last night - which has been a huge help, as we have been pretty much dry since March 11.

"We had that hot period as well, when the ground staff were out there in shorts and tee-shirts. It is breezy now as well. We are expecting a dry day today and there might just be the odd shower around."

Varma had added a 5mm sprinkling on Friday and Saturday but with changeable weather possible in the next few days has stopped there.

She added: "It looks like there is more rain coming tonight. The challenge is the forecasts are all different. They are slowly coming together to a bit more of a consensus, but we are not quite there.

"We are expecting another 3mm-6mm tonight and showers on Wednesday as well.

"Thursday, Friday and Saturday are looking mostly dry at the moment. At one time they were suggesting it was heavy rain on Friday, but that seems to have petered out.

"The other thing is the showers could be quite wintry. There is a bit of a cold front and they are not quite sure where that front is going to settle. The good thing is, they say the snow will be over high ground, but it has the potential to be a bit wintry - in April!

"We are just having to take it day by day. We are certainly hoping that through to Thursday we won't need to water again.

"We are good to soft on all three courses. If we get that rain tonight, with the upper end of that 6mm, we would be good to soft, soft in places, probably."

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