Stickels waiting on weather updates before finalising Ascot watering plans

Thunderstorms forecast for midweek at the Royal meeting.

Keith Hamer
Sunday 13 June 2021 13:38
The ground at Royal Ascot could be good to firm by Tuesday afternoon
The ground at Royal Ascot could be good to firm by Tuesday afternoon

The threat of possible thunderstorms in the middle of the week means Ascot clerk of the course Chris Stickels will wait before deciding whether to continue watering once the Royal meeting starts on Tuesday.

The going was described as good, good to firm in places on Sunday but with dry and warm conditions set to continue for a couple more days, the ground could be good to firm during the first day’s action.

Watering has gone on for a week on both the straight and round courses.

“Going wise we are good, good to firm in places and in the middle of a watering cycle,” Stickels told Sky Sports Racing.

“We watered the straight course yesterday and are not watering today. We watered the round course last night and will water that again tonight and we will water the straight course again tomorrow.

“It’s a very warm day today – 29 degrees as the afternoon goes on and we are expecting a warm, dry day tomorrow too.

“We’ve been watering for the last week, about 10 millimetres on the straight course every other day and between 3mm and 4mm on the round course. The straight course drains a bit quicker.

“That keeps us close to where we are, putting that amount of water on – a mixture of good and good to firm. The track is in lovely condition.

“We’ll end up with good to firm ground by the middle of the afternoon on Tuesday.

“We’ll probably start the day on a mixture of good and good to firm, but the first race is not until 2.30pm. By the time we get to the fourth race in the afternoon, gone four o’clock the ground will be good to firm by then.”

Once racing has finished on Tuesday, Stickels has to decide what his next move will be based on the latest predictions.

“The question then comes what do we do in the evening after racing, depending on the forecast,” he went on.

“We’ll have to play that one by ear when the forecast for the remainder of the week becomes clearer. We may have to put a bit of water on on Tuesday night to hold it at good to firm.

“There does look like a breakdown in the middle of the week. Certainly Wednesday night into Thursday, when some thunderstorms might develop from northern France The nature of thunderstorms is they are hit and miss, but there is confidence in that forecast after racing Wednesday and on Thursday.

“If we weren’t watering now, we’d have firm ground by Tuesday afternoon and we wouldn’t have any runners.

“At the moment we’ve got 28, 29 degrees today and tomorrow. There’s no question of needing to water now.

“It’s what happens after Wednesday really and that picture is unclear at the moment.

“This far out on Sunday, talking about Wednesday night, it’s very difficult to imagine what is going to happen at this stage.”