Storm Eunice: Ascot Chase Day shouldn’t be affected as course clerk Chris Stickels watches for potential damage | Race News

Ascot remains confident that Saturday’s Ascot Chase meeting will not be affected by Storm Eunice, but Race Director Chris Stickels is monitoring the track for possible damage from high winds.

Three British fixtures – Fakenham, Southwell and Lingfield – were scrapped on Friday with weather warnings in place across most of the UK.

The worst of the storm is expected to be over on Saturday and only light rain is expected at Ascot ahead of the race.

Saturday’s seven-race card, all live on Sky Sports Racing, includes the Grade One Ascot Chase and the Grade Two Reynoldstown Novices’ Chase.

Speaking to Sky Sports Racing on Friday, Stickels said: “We expect more showers and the wind to pick up more, but it should ease off a bit overnight. strong tomorrow, but not as violent as today.

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Kevin Blake, race director under trainer Joseph O’Brien, believes Saturday’s Ascot Chase, live on Sky Sports Racing, could be Fakir D’oudairies’ best chance to win the first year this season.

“We don’t have any temporary structures in place by the minute and we won’t be doing that until tomorrow. We’re delaying most of our installations until today and then we’ll see what it looks like tomorrow.

“The forecast for us tomorrow is not as severe as it is today. If the forecast is correct, we don’t expect it to cause us any problems as long as nothing is damaged during today’s storms. “

After an unusually dry start to February, Stickels reports that ground conditions at Ascot – currently described as soft – are in good shape.

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Coach Paul Nicholls hopes Saint Calvados will have a physical advantage over Ascot rivals Chase on Saturday, having been rested since finishing third to King George at Kempton on Boxing Day

“We were pretty dry at the start of this month and had good ground last week,” Stickels said.

“We’ve had 24mm of rain since last Saturday and the track has taken it very well. We expect a few more millimeters in these gusty showers with another 6mm possible tomorrow during the race.

“It’s going to take that too and I don’t expect the track conditions to deteriorate much more than soft. It’s really in great shape.

“The wind will make it taxing and will probably blow against them as they come up the straight, which will make it tiring, but I don’t think the conditions underfoot will be that taxing.”

The Haydock Grand National Trial meeting on Saturday is subject to a preventive inspection at 8am on Saturday morning, although the track is currently fit to race.

Sky Sports

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