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Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Course confident on all fronts as horses and humans face a bake-off

Ascot: ready for action after watering finished on Monday
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Ascot officials say they are fully prepared on the equine and human fronts for what is forecast to be a sweltering start to the royal meeting with temperatures in the high 20s.

The latest round of watering finished around midday on Monday in an attempt to counter the heatwave.

The ground is good to firm, good in places after 6mm of watering on the round course overnight and 4mm on the straight course on Monday morning.

The GoingStick readings on the straight course were 8.4 on each side and 8.3 up the middle of the track, where the stalls will be positioned for the first day.

The latest watering takes the total to around 40mm after alternate days of watering last week from Tuesday to counter the dry spell since heavy rain more than ten days ago.

Chris Stickels, Ascot's clerk of the course, said: "This will be watering finished now until we have a look after racing on Tuesday."

Ascot is deploying water barrels around the racetrack and on the walkways, while the revamped unsaddling area has tree-lined shade as well as hi-tech mist fans to help cool down runners.

Free water outlets

Nick Smith, Ascot's director of communications, said: "Winners and placed horses will not be forced to go the winner's enclosure if they are suffering from the heat."

Ascot has also announced racegoers can bring in empty water bottles to fill up at the number of free water outlets on the course.

And Smith added: "We always hand out free water at the exits after racing to help hydration and have ordered in extra supplies."

Ascot has also invested in a battery of fans and some air conditioning units for the temporary stands to help in the heat. 

Racegoers will need to keep their cool arriving at the course, with queues expected because of heightened security following recent events in Manchester and London.

The presence of armed police has become more common on racecourses recently and the trend is set to continue at Ascot this week

An Ascot spokeswoman said: "This year there will be an increased presence of armed and uniformed police in the vicinity of, and on, site and additional security dog, bag and physical searching at all entrances, with regular patrols across our site including the car parks.

"Customers, their guests and all visitors are advised to expect delays at entrances as a result and to plan travel arrangements accordingly.”

It could get even hotter in France, and Auteuil's twilight meeting scheduled for Thursday has been pushed back a day owing to fears of a heatwave in Paris. 

Temperatures are forecast to reach 36 degrees on Thursday, before dipping down to the mid 20s on Friday, with racing now due to start late morning.

Willie Mullins has entered Pravalaguna – a promising third on her last visit to Auteuil in May – in the Group 3 Prix Christian de Tredern Hurdle on the card.

Royal Ascot Tuesday card

This will be watering finished now until we have a look after racing on Tuesday

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