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The inner course will hope to provide faster ground for Champions Day

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)  

Champion Stakes could switch to inner course to avoid soft ground

THE Qipco Champion Stakes, highlight of Britain's Flat season finale at Ascot, could be run on a newly demarcated inner course in a bid to avoid running the race on soft ground. 

The new inner course is not subject to summer watering and was good, good to firm in places at the time of last year's Qipco British Champions Day. 

Chris Stickels, clerk of the course at Ascot, said: "We have undertaken extensive research in an effort to ensure we are running Qipco British Champions Day on the best possible ground available. Last year the existing outer Flat course was good to soft, soft in places. 

"We also walked the area we are now thinking of using for the Qipco Champion Stakes and it was good, good to firm in places. Subsequent readings suggest we will see something similar."

A decision on whether to run the Champion Stakes on the new course could be taken by August 2, when initial entries for the race close, but may be left until closer to the meeting.

In the future, the Qipco British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes and Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup could also transfer to the new inner Flat course.

Soft going has long been a concern at Champions Day, which is run this year on October 15, and course officials also considered utilising rain covers - an option now ruled out due to concerns surrounding the time deployment would take and the prospect of inconsistent going should rain fall during the removal process.

 
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