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Arnold Lane - Chester 10.5.12

Chester: going was changed twice from good to firm to good to soft

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Chester clerk Morris defends watering policy

CHESTER clerk of the course Andrew Morris on Thursday defended the decision to water the track in the build-up and during the prestigious May meeting, as the going eased significantly on the second day of the three-day fixture.

Prior to Thursday's first race the going was good to firm (watered), but following persistent rain from 1oam to 4pm ended up officially described as good to soft.

The going is expected to remain the same for Friday, and Morris said: "In terms of the watering we did we knew it was going to be a very difficult three days.

"We had significant rain forecast on Wednesday and that disappeared which is why we watered on Tuesday night because we had to ensure the ground on Wednesday was safe.

"We watered a little bit of ground last night [Wednesday] but that was in response to jockey feedback that we agreed with the senior jockeys to do to ensure safety."

One trainer with no complaints about the softer conditions is Ed Dunlop, who saddles Contributer, general 7-4 favourite for the Group 3 Dee Stakes.

A winner at Newbury last time out, the three-year-old has gone up a stone to an official mark of 99, and Dunlop said: "He had a few options, but with rain forecast for Chester we've decided to come here. I'm pleased with the way he's progressing."

Dunlop will not be the only party hoping the colt can progress, as the Dee Stakes faces the threat of being downgraded to Listed status should the first four finishers not achieve an average BHA rating of 105 by the end of the season.

One of ten European Pattern races under scrutiny by the European Pattern Commitee, the Dee Stakes has fallen below the required parameter for the last two seasons and a third consecutive dip would trigger the downgrading.

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