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Ascot downpour turns ground heavy ahead of Champions Day

Qipco Champions Day could be staged on testing ground after a weekend deluge at Ascot.

Five days before the richest meeting in the history of British racing, which is designed to showcase all the best that the sport can offer, the going was reported to be heavy in places following the downpours that washed away Monday’s meeting at nearby Windsor.  

However clerk of the course Chris Stickels hopes that the forecast for a drier week in the build up to Saturday's £4.35 million card will allow conditions to dry slightly.

"We've had a lot of rain," he said on Monday morning. "We had 4mm on Friday and 40mm in the last 24 hours.

"The ground is soft, heavy in places on the straight course and heavy, soft in places on the round. But we're not expecting much more rain now.

"We might get a few light showers today and the rest of the week looks mainly dry. There's a slight chance of an odd shower or two on Tuesday and Wednesday but nothing really significant, a couple of millimetres possibly."

Asked about how he expected the ground to ride on Saturday, Stickels said: "I'd say the most likely scenario would be soft.

"You're asking me on Monday morning and it's hard to predict but one would expect conditions to improve given the current forecast."

Heavy rain will be good news for leading Qipco Champion Stakes contender Cracksman, a confirmed mudlark who has missed several engagements during a dry summer.

However Queen Anne Stakes winner Accidental Agent has been ruled out of the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Trainer Eve Johnson Houghton tweeted: "Having met with a minor setback, we have made the decision not to run Accidental Agent again this year. Although we are sad to miss the QEII @Ascot we can't wait for next year with him."

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