Course watering to maintain conditions as temperatures soar
Water and plenty of it was the key survival tool at a sweltering Ascot on Tuesday as three track records were broken, and the track was set for a refreshing dousing after racing in preparation for day two, which is forecast to be even hotter.
The going was changed to good to firm (from good to firm, good in places) after the opening race on Tuesday and clerk of the course Chris Stickels is hoping to maintain the same conditions for day two of the royal meeting.
“We’re putting 5mm of water on the whole course,” said Stickels on Tuesday.
“It’s fast, summer ground and I’ve been happy. The watering should hold it similar – we’re putting in the moisture we think has been lost today and we’re anticipation similar ground tomorrow.”
Temperatures were nudging 30C on Tuesday but Wednesday’s forecast is for hotter still, although there remains a risk of thunderstorms later in the week.
Stickels added: “We’ll keep monitoring how high the risk is for them and keep making decisions on watering as the week goes on.”
The attendance for day one was 44,235, down from 47,629 in 2016.
A diary clash means that the Queen must dash from Westminster to make it for the second day of Royal Ascot on Wednesday.
Ascot’s expectation is that she will make it in time to attend after taking part in the State Opening of Parliament earlier in the day.
The quick ground contributed to three course records falling, with Ribchester setting a new best of 1 min 36.60 secs in the Queen Anne, while Rajasinghe also posted a new best in the Coventry with a time of 1 min 12.39 secs.
St James's Palace winner Barney Roy was the other to set a new record with a time of 1 min 37.22 secs. It was so nearly four, with Lady Aurelia's 57.45sec just outside the 57.44sec set by Miss Andretti in 2007. The most records to fall in one day was five, back in 2007.