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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Ascot to follow 2016 approach to give fresh ground for Champions Day

Chris Stickels: will follow 2016's plan to provide fresh ground on Champions Day
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If you are disappointed to see a safety limit of 18 for Saturday's totescoop6 Challenge Cup at Ascot, you are probably a masochist, but with any luck the benefit will be clear on Qipco British Champions Day in a fortnight's time.

Ascot will follow the successful formula from 2016, essentially cutting the straight course in half, with the near side taking the traffic on Friday and Saturday this week and the far side being used for Champions Day.

In both instances, a cutaway two to three furlongs from the winning post will allow use of the full width of the track.

Clerk of the course Chris Stickels explained before racing on Friday: "On Champions Day, the intention is to have fresh ground, so in essence we'll have the opposite of what's in effect this weekend. The races on the straight course will be on the far side until two to three furlongs out and then the cutaway will give them the full width of the track."

Distances on the round course will be slightly longer (up to 33 yards) and Stickels added: "The round course races will be on the inner line on Champions Day, so run over their advertised distances. The caveat is that if it is heavy ground or looks likely to be heavy we would move to the inner course, which is essentially the hurdles track. That would be decided at the 72-hour stage."

Stickels was naturally cautious about speculating over the long-term forecast, but said: "There currently isn't much rain forecast in the next week but it is looking changeable."

He also confirmed the course is expected to remain dry until Saturday, when showers are forecast.

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On Champions Day, the intention is to have fresh ground so in essence we'll have the opposite of what's in effect this weekend

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