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Ascot and Haydock confident standout Saturday cards can beat the weather

Officials at Ascot and Haydock, which stage UK's Saturday's main cards, are hopeful of beating the conditions and racing at the end of a week in which the weather has taken a heavy toll on the racing programme.

The Ascot feature is the Grade 1 Matchbook Clarence House Chase, featuring a hotly anticipated rematch between Defi Du Seuil and Un De Sceaux.

Clerk of the course Chris Stickels declared himself "very optimistic” the meeting will go ahead and said on Wednesday: “We've had 14mm of rain over the last 24 hours but given the current forecast I don’t think we will have a problem.

"There is probably another 8mm in the forecast and we can cope comfortably with that as long as the forecasters have it right.”

Stickels added: “We last raced on the Friday and Saturday before Christmas and the ground actually recovered quite well, in fact, better than I expected.

“We are currently officially soft and heavy in places and, as things stand, I'd say I'm very optimistic we will race on Saturday.”

Haydock clerk of the course Kirkland Tellwright is also more than hopeful that Saturday’s meeting, which includes four Graded contests, will get the green light.

He said: “It’s currently heavy all over and it will not be for the faint-hearted but, in the circumstances, we are in a good place as far as Saturday is concerned.

“We have had around 12mm of rain this week and I think we're in for another 10-12mm on Thursday before light showers on Friday but dry afterwards. As long as the weather forecasters have it right we should be in business on Saturday."

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