Epsom track being watered ahead of Derby weekend as ground quickens up in hot weather

EPSOM clerk of the course Andrew Cooper has turned on the taps ahead of the Derby Festival.

Conditions at the track have quickened up significantly over the past week.

And in order to prevent the ground from becoming too firm, Epsom have started watering.

Two days out from the Cazoo Oaks, the going was described as Good, Good to Firm in places.

Cooper said: “We’ve maintained a going report here of Good, Good To Firm in places and we produced a Turftrax GoingStick reading of 7.1, which is actually what it was on Sunday morning.

“It had increased to 7.4 yesterday morning and the watering that we’ve done has improved matters a touch and brought us back to a stage where we were two days ago – which is historically pretty much good ground.

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"However there is definitely ground that’s on the quicker side on bits of the course though, hence that going description."

With further warm weather expected in the lead-up to the historic meeting, Cooper will keep adding water to maintain the ground in it's current state.

He added: “We’ve had another hot day and it looks a hotter day still tomorrow, with talks of 26 or 27 degrees in the South East.

“The plan is to embark on a watering programme again tomorrow but quite exactly how much we’ll leave until the morning.

"We’ll take stock of the forecasts but I’m sure we’ll be doing something quite widespread because we know we’ll lose 3mm of moisture of soil here on a day like today.

“I’d say that we are now where we want to be in terms of a broad aim for Friday – as opposed to anything any slower or anything any quicker.

"That’s quite a good ground condition to go into a two-day meeting on, which means you can probably let nature take its course thereafter and be no worse than Good to Firm on Saturday.

“You’d have called us Soft on Monday of last week but by Friday you wouldn’t have called it any slower than Good To Soft.

"All courses up and down the country are drying out at the moment but Epsom Downs being chalk-based is rather free draining and it can turn very quickly.”

A field of 14 fillies have been declared for the Oaks, including hot favourite Santa Barbara.

The runners for the Derby will be declared on Thursday morning, with the market headed by Bolshoi Ballet.

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