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Epsom in a good position ground-wise for start of Derby weekend

Epsom in a good position ground-wise for start of Derby weekend
Epsom in a good position ground-wise for start of Derby weekend

The Betfred Derby Festival appears set to start on good to soft ground after no weather dramas in the build up to Friday’s Oaks card.

Epsom had managed to avoid any heavy rain by Thursday afternoon, and clerk of the course Andrew Cooper is more than content with how his preparations have gone, simply allowing nature to take its course.

There is some light rain forecast ahead of the Betfred Oaks and the Holland Cooper Coronation Cup, but the outlook is promising for Derby day racegoers.

Cooper said at around 5pm: “We haven’t seen a lot of rain yet here today. It was a cloudy morning with a few light showers, which gave us about a millimetre, and it actually ended up being quite a pleasant, dry afternoon.

“I think we’ve got some showery rain heading our way this evening, there’s still some potential for that here, so watch this space on that, but I don’t expect it to be thundery heavy or anything like that.

“I’ve left the ground for now at good to soft, which is where we were at first thing this morning, because prior to this morning, we’d basically been dry since Tuesday afternoon.

“There was nothing I’d really call soft, so I think good to soft remains a fair call as it is. It will have dried a fraction during the course of the day here but it wasn’t the kind of temperature or dry enough for it to dry very quickly.

“Tomorrow, there looks a lot of dry weather but we could have a kind of drizzly spell through the morning potentially. It’s not a completely dry picture but there doesn’t look anything particularly heavy – and Saturday looks dry.

“In Flat-racing terms, I think most people would say slightly faster ground would be perfect, but I think if it stays dry, we would be heading towards good, certainly.

“If it rains this evening, I think we’ll start tomorrow in the good to soft territory and we’ll go from there, but the picture has sort of been broadly improving since Tuesday really, having been soft at that stage – it’s been improving every day overall.

“To be honest, in this job, any year when you are not having to make irrigation decisions it is welcome, because that’s one of the hardest parts of the job. But obviously this year, over the past few weeks, nature has very much been taking care of things.

“Whatever it ends up, it’s a nice, consistent surface – it’s not erratic and it walks very consistently.”

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