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'It's heavy now' - testing ground expected for final day of Royal Ascot

Chris Stickels (right): expects to be racing on testing ground again on Saturday
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Testing ground is predicted for the final day of Royal Ascot after 43mm of rain fell in less than 24 hours turning the ground heavy from good to firm on Thursday.

Remarkably, day four of the royal meeting had to survive a prolonged inspection on Friday afternoon after heavy and persistent rain left the fixture in apparent jeopardy before it was given the thumbs up.

More showers could potentially hit the track on Saturday, but clerk of the course Chris Stickels expressed no concern about racing going ahead.

He said: "We ended up having 40mm of rain today on top of the 3mm we had yesterday. Hopefully some of that moisture soaks through but that's going to make it testing. It's heavy now.

"The forecast is for this rain eventually to die out later this evening – although it's unclear when because it keeps on circling round us – and then for a better day tomorrow.

What we learned from day four of Royal Ascot

"It's not predicted to be warm and sunny, but dry with the chance of an occasional shower. We'll review the situation in the morning."

Conditions are likely to be too soft for leading Diamond Jubilee Stakes contender Starman, with trainer Ed Walker already eyeing the Darley July Cup at Newmarket next month for his Duke of York Stakes winner.

"I'm going to speak with his jockey Oisin Murphy and owner David Ward and we'll make a decision tonight," he said after walking the course following the concluding race on Friday.

"I'd say it's highly unlikely that he's going to run and we'll wait for Newmarket, probably."

All the news on Friday at Royal Ascot:

Sandrine comes home strongest to land Albany for Balding and Probert

Alenquer gives boost to Adayar with fluent win for Marquand and Haggas

'Oisin's horse drifted about eight lanes' – Commonwealth Cup result reversed

Did the stewards get it right in the Commonwealth Cup? Experts have their say

'No place for tears' – Alcohol Free gives Oisin Murphy Group 1 redemption

Murtagh enjoys first Royal Ascot win with brilliant Create Belief

Check out the Racing Post Royal Ascot microsite for the latest tips and odds for the royal meeting. The best Royal Ascot betting advice and exclusive free betting offers all in one place.


We ended up having 40mm of rain today on top of the 3mm we had yesterday

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