Ascot ground now soft in places after 65mm of rain in the last week

What a difference a year makes. The going at last year's royal meeting reached good to firm, with just 3mm of rainfall at the course in the entirety of June.

However, 12 months on and the course has had 65mm in the last week, yet the going remains good to soft, soft in places with the prospect of being good again by next Tuesday should no further rain arrive.  

The Berkshire track, which opens with the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes on Tuesday, has seen 50mm of rain fall since Sunday and could receive a further 13mm by Friday.

Clerk of the course Chris Stickels said: "It's really nice out there and I'm very pleased with it. If we were racing today I'd call it a mixture of good to soft and soft, with the softer ground being in the usual spots on the old course. It has taken [the rain] very well.

"We had 50mm from noon Sunday and we've had 65mm in total over the last seven days. Last year we had 3mm of rain in June up to the start of the meeting and it was so dry, but that was an exceptional year."

The forecast over the next few days is unsettled according to Stickels, but the opening day could start on good ground if the rain stays away. 

"It's unsettled and unpredictable over the next few days," he added. "We are forecast up to half an inch before Friday, so we could get another 12-13mm between now and then. If we get that then it's going to keep the going on the slow side for sure. After that it looks like the low pressure system that's been causing all the problems moves away."

Security a key focus 

Guy Henderson, chief executive of Ascot, warned that the racecourse's security will be on high alert for anti-social behaviour, including anyone possessing or using illegal drugs.

He said: "We will, of course, continue to be vigilant and have covert and overt quick response teams across the site should issues arise."

In the interests of all visitors, we do not tolerate the possession or use of illegal drugs. In 2019, our security and drugs dogs will be patrolling all enclosures and car parks throughout the day as well as the entrances.

"Those seeking to gain entry or found with illegal drugs in any of these areas will be refused entry and/or removed."

Armed police and patrol dogs will be in attendance, in addition to high-level security in the case of anti-social behaviour on course. 

65mm of rain over the past week for Ascot, picture Liesl King