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Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Evidence suggests track bias favours stands' side runners

Ground conditions remained officially good to firm on the third day at Royal Ascot
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The stands' side could be the place to be once again at Royal Ascot on Friday according to the latest GoingStick readings after clerk of the course Chris Stickels denied there was any intrinsic draw bias at the track.

Runners on the stands' side tended to dominate races on the straight course on the first two days of the meeting, but those on the opposite side held sway on Thursday.

While there was no change to the official going of good to firm on Friday morning, the updated GoingStick readings suggested the far side of the course is now the slower of the two rails, having changed to 8.6 from 9.0.

The stands' side, meanwhile, is it 9.0 from 9.1, while the centre if 8.3 from 8.6. The reading on the round course is 7.4 from 7.9.

'It's just where the pace has been'

Sioux Nation won Thursday's Norfolk Stakes on the far side and runners on that part of the track filled the first three places in the Britannia Handicap.

Trainer Mark Johnston tweeted: "How does the 'apparent' draw bias reverse overnight?????"

But Stickels said: "The only apparent bias is that you are better on a rail than coming up the middle. But I would say that the stands' side was more worn before today and that may have made a difference."

After winning on Sioux Nation, Ryan Moore said: "It's a perfectly even track, it's just where the pace has been."

More water was set to be applied to the course ahead of the fourth day's racing – the showers that were forecast as possible did not fall on Thursday morning and it has been dry for a fortnight.

"We're going to put 4mm on the whole course to maintain the ground," Stickels said.

"There was a decent breeze and it dried today. The forecast is largely dry." 

There was a headwind during the afternoon, which had a slowing effect on race times, but jockeys generally agreed it was again quick ground.

Pat Smullen said: "It's lively but there's no jar, they have put enough water on," while James Doyle said: "The ground is better than yesterday, it is not as quick" and PJ McDonald said: "It is summer fast ground with no jar.

Royal Ascot results and analysis

It's a perfectly even track, it's just where the pace has been
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