Ascot ground deemed too quick to risk Edwardstone

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Despite the fact that Market Rasen were forced to abandon half-way through Thursday’s meeting because of torrential rain, the ground has dried up so quickly in the UK this summer, so maybe it was no surprise when Alan withdrew our Arkle Chase hero Edwardstone from his intended engagement at Ascot today.

Obviously it is a huge disappointment, not only to all racing fans but particularly Alan and Edwardstone’s owner-breeders, Robert Abrey and Ian Thurtle, as we had also been forced to pull out our stable-star from the Shloer Chase at Cheltenham at the 11th hour last Sunday, again because of the drying ground and the only other option for a prep race before the Tingle Creek at Sandown on December 3.

Ascot clerk of the course Chris Stickels called the official going ‘good to soft, good in places”, but Alan remains concerned.

He said:”I didn’t like the ground there yesterday. Betterforeveryone, who ran in the finale, came back jarred up and was sore this morning, and that made my decision quite easy. We have only run a handful of horses at Ascot this season, but most of them have come back with a problem.

“Edwardstone is a big, heavy-topped horse who has only once run on ground that wasn’t good to soft or slower, and one wrong call and you’ve lost the horse for the season. I wasn’t prepared to risk doing him any damage.

“It isn’t ideal having to go straight for the Tingle Creek, having not run since Aintree last April, but I’ll now probably take Edwardstone away and work him somewhere before Sandown. It’s nobody’s fault – it’s just the weather and some November days this year have felt like summer.”

Stickels said:”We put 5mm of water on overnight between the last two fences that is currently ‘good’ as. if we, hadn’t, we feel by the start of racing it would have quickened up.

“It is very surprising that we had to water at all as the course has had 41mm of rain in the last seven days – indeed, it’s been the driest six months here that I’ve ever known.”