Strong winds to hit Champions Day

More wet weather on the way at Ascot

Ascot will have to batten down the hatches on Qipco British Champions Day with a yellow weather warning issued by the Met Office.

The course is set to feel the force of Storm Brian, which will be tracking a route across Ireland and Britain, producing possible strong winds and heavy isolated showers throughout Saturday at the Berkshire venue.

A yellow warning gives notice to affected areas to "be aware" and comes into force at 4am.

Met Office spokesman Grahame Madge said: "There is going to be a fair amount of rain ahead of racing, with the forecast for around 10 millimetres or so of rain.

"There is the possibility of an isolated heavy shower on raceday, but Ascot does fall in the area under a yellow warning for wind, with possible gusts of 45 to 55 miles per hour.

"That is obviously not a continual wind speed, but with gusts of that order there is the potential for disruption. It's not the level of wind we saw with Ophelia earlier in the week, but it is a strong wind."

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The ground is already described as soft and more rain is on the way, but clerk of the course Chris Stickels does not envisage conditions worsening much further.

"We've had 12 millimetres (of rain) this week and seven in the last 24 hours. The going is soft at the moment," he said.

"We can expect a few more showers, there's a pretty strong wind, it's bright and breezy today (Friday).

"The wind is due to pick up overnight with a few showers, high winds are forecast tomorrow with another five or six millimetres of rain possible but I wouldn't have thought that will alter the ground."

While the rain is not expected to cause to much of a problem for the horses the strong gusts of wind could prove problematic for all.

Stickels told Racing UK: "Forecasts are suggesting gusts of up to 40-50mph, while it will be constant at 25mph.

"It is coming from the south west so the grandstand should protect the last furlong but as they turn into the straight on the round course it will be a headwind. The ground was in lovely condition earlier in the week so it will take the rain.

"There was a lot of talk at the beginning over whether this meeting would work, but it has grown in popularity and the quality of the fields are excellent.

"We've a big crowd coming so let's hope the gale doesn't ruin anyone's fun."

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