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Horse Racing

Ascot Forced to Change Track for Champions Day Due to Heavy Rain and Storm Babet


The prestigious Champions Day at Ascot is facing a major change due to heavy rain and the impending storm, Storm Babet. The downpours have resulted in parts of the track being labeled as 'heavy' going, prompting the organizers to make adjustments.

Track Change

Three races on Champions Day, namely the Long Distance Cup, the Fillies and Mares Stakes, and the Champion Stakes, will be moved to the inner hurdles course. This course offers slightly better conditions despite being rarely used for flat races.

Statement from Ascot

Ascot released a statement explaining the decision: "The going on the round course is now soft, heavy in places. Following verification from an independent panel and agreement that this will not improve before raceday, the three round course races will switch to the inner flat course."

Impact on Races

Due to the track change, the Group 2 Long Distance Cup and the Fillies and Mares Stakes will be shortened. The Long Distance Cup will be reduced by 82 yards to 1m7f 127 yards, while the Fillies and Mares Stakes will be run over 1m3f 133 yards.

Other Affected Fixtures

The heavy rain has caused havoc with other race fixtures as well. Fakenham, Haydock, Uttoxeter, and Stratford have been forced to abandon their cards due to flooding. Market Rasen's Saturday meeting has also been canceled because of a waterlogged track. In total, five fixtures have been canceled over just two days.

Frankie Dettori's Final Rides

Despite the weather disruptions, legendary jockey Frankie Dettori remains undeterred. Dettori, who is retiring from racing in the UK, will be riding in his final book of races at Ascot, the track that made him a superstar. Although he will be racing in the US next year, there are high expectations of his return to Ascot for the Royal meeting in June.