” title=”The Badger Beer Chase is likely to be run on quick ground next month”
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The Badger Beer Chase is likely to be run on quick ground next month
By Peter Scargill
Wincanton’s fixture on Sunday is likely to be called off unless significant rain falls on the course, where conditions were described as firm, hard in places on Tuesday.
A chronic lack of rain at the Somerset venue has not only resulted in hard ground developing in areas of the course, but has also caused the track’s reservoir to run dry and prevent watering taking place.
An inspection will take place at 9am on Thursday to determine whether Sunday’s meeting, which has attracted 74 entries for the seven races, one of which is scheduled to be broadcast on ITV4, can go ahead.
Officials are pinning their hopes on a rain arriving on Wednesday. Clerk of the course Daniel Cooper said: “We received a paid consultancy forecast and there is one last chance of rain coming and we thought the best outcome was to give it to Thursday as that’s an appropriate amount of time and it’s still before declarations.
“We wouldn’t need much more rain to take it to a position where it was raceable. It’s not a huge percentage of the course that we’re worried about, but if any of it is unraceable then it’s all unraceable.”
Cooper said the chutes for the 2m and 2m4f races, plus the winning line, were where the ground was hard, with conditions good to firm in the back straight and on the home bend.
Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
title=”Daniel Cooper (right): Wincanton clerk of the course has not ruled out racing on Sunday, “but it’s a big ask””
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Daniel Cooper (right): Wincanton clerk of the course has not ruled out racing on Sunday, “but it’s a big ask”
Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
“We had 15mm at the weekend and a couple more spells like that would move those [hard] areas towards good to firm and the other areas would be pushed the right way too,” he said. “We’ve not ruled out racing on Sunday, but it’s a big ask.”
Wincanton’s next fixture after Sunday is Badger Beer Chase Day on November 5, and Cooper expects the ground to remain on the fast side of good. Last year, the ground was described as good, good to firm in places when Rocco won the feature race.
“There has to be a strong chance we’ll be running on good to firm ground this year,” Cooper said. “We’ve been there before for that meeting and it’s not ideal, but that is safe ground and trainers will be well aware if they send horses suited to those conditions they can race on it.
“People have asked why don’t we irrigate but we’re totally fed by storm water – and we’ve had no storms. We’re not mains fed, we can’t draw from groundwater, it’s entirely dependent on rainfall and there hasn’t been any.”
Temperatures soared past 40C in Britain during the summer, with several areas of the country declared in drought after record-low levels of rainfall during 2022, and Cooper said this had left the course in a difficult position.
“I’ve never known it like this before in my career as a clerk or during my training in the north-west or at the London courses,” he said. “I’ve been in racing for quite a while now but we had so little rain in the spring and then a drought into the summer. A dry spring plus a summer like we’ve had is why we’ve found ourselves like this.”
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