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'We should be fine' - Ascot and Haydock confident of staging big weekend cards

Ascot hosts quality racing on Friday and Saturday
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Officials at Ascot and Haydock are confident their big weekend meetings will take place despite further heavy rain forecast.

It has already been a wet week in Britain, with Hereford inspecting at 8am for its meeting tomorrow.

Exeter passed an inspection this afternoon and races tomorrow on ground described as heavy.

The heaviest spell of rain is forecast on Friday evening, but there are no concerns at Ascot, which races on Friday and Saturday, where conditions remained soft on Wednesday despite further rain overnight.

Paisley Park and Thyme Hill are among a star-studded cast for Saturday's highlight, the Grade 1 Long Walk Hurdle.

The rail on Ascot's hurdle course has been moved for Friday's fixture, and will be repositioned again on Saturday to provide fresh ground for both days.

Chris Stickels, clerk of the course at Ascot, said on Wednesday: "It remains soft. The forecast indicates we might get slightly less rainfall than we thought at the beginning of the week, which is positive.

"We're expecting three to four millimetres this afternoon, a generally dry day on Thursday and the majority of the rain is expected after racing on Friday.

Saturday's card at Ascot

"The rail was right down at the beginning of the season so we've been gradually bringing them back in, so we'll have fresh ground on Friday and Saturday."

On Saturday's likely conditions, he added: "I'd say it'll be soft or soft, heavy in places. It depends how much rain we get on Friday."

The ground will be heavy at Haydock for Saturday's seven-race card, with two races on ITV4 including the Betfair Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase.

"Friday looks like it'll be a particularly wet day but we should be fine," said Kirkland Tellwright, Haydock's clerk of the course. "It'll be heavy ground and not for the faint-hearted, but we expect to be racing."

At Hereford, clerk of the course Libby O'Flaherty is also upbeat Thursday's seven-race card will go ahead. Conditions are heavy, soft in places.

She said: "We're currently raceable. We've not had heavy rain so far today, it just spat all morning. Fingers crossed it'll stop at lunchtime as we're forecast and then we'll be fine for tomorrow."

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It'll be heavy ground and not for the faint-hearted but we expect to be racing
E.W. Terms