Andrew Cooper, Epsom Course Director, has started watering the track for this week’s Cazoo Derby Festival.
Sunday’s walk was rated good the entire course, but a hot afternoon and the likelihood of rain falling later in the week prompted Cooper to step in and start the irrigation.
The pitch is described as good, good to firm in places for the two-day meeting which begins on Friday and hosts the Derby itself on Saturday – and only slightly faster areas will be targeted during the initial watering.
“At nine o’clock yesterday morning I would have called the field,” Cooper said.
“Yesterday was a dry, sunny day here. Temperatures climbed to around 20 degrees – and it was a lovely sunny afternoon.
“We dried out a bit more – and starting at nine this morning if we were running here today I would say it’s good, good to firm up in places.
“Just look at the reports going on across the country and see that a lot of the Flat runs are heading into this territory, so it’s not at all unexpected. This is exactly where I expected it to be. we are, given the weather last week. “
Cooper’s team will apply an initial five millimeters of water to the driest parts of the track, with the forecast in the later stages of the week being the deciding factor in whether additional watering will be needed.
“We’re focusing today on those parts of the track that we would qualify as good to firm, or the fast side of good, if we were to race here today,” he said.
“As far as the Derby route goes, it’s really only the first half mile, from the start of the Derby to the start of the mile, which goes a little faster than the last mile.
“We’re going to leave the last mile, certainly for today, and we’ve decided to put 5mm on this first half mile.
“In our opinion, the time has come for us to step in and just start the irrigation.
“In terms of forecasts, more and more – this very morning – the risk of showering at the end of the week is decreasing.
“There is still some degree of uncertainty. But here and now the risk of downpours is diminishing – which is one of the reasons for us to crack and water.”