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Royal Ascot Surface Listed as Good to Soft on Monday


The surface conditions are still subject to plenty of speculation ahead of Tuesday's massive kick-off of the 2011 Royal Ascot meeting. Clerk of the course Chris Stickels has reported that Monday's listing of good to soft will likely revert to good by the off on Tuesday. The opening day of the Royal Ascot meeting features a trio of Group 1 encounters and there is plenty of prestige up for grabs on one of racing's biggest stages.

Speaking to the media late Monday, Stickels declared that “It's drying out lovely. I haven't changed the going but the straight will probably be good by racing; the round course will probably still have some soft in it.”

Going on the straight course should be significantly firmer and you can expect it to influence things for a number of the shorter distance contests. A pronounced track bias could develop if things stay good on the straight course and it should favour speed if the ground continues to dry.

Sunday saw around 9 mm of rain unfolding over the Ascot surface and the lack of rain in the forecast will produce a nearly perfect opening day in the eyes of many trainers. American conditioner Wesley Ward has shipped over a number of contenders to pull off a high profile American score in the British turf. He was quoted as saying, “the rain certainly concerned me. I am staying at Ascot and I had to have a couple of glasses of wine to settle me down. Fortunately today it's been blue sky... My horses will have a wonderful chance.”

A number of prominent names are set to contest races on the opening day with emerging superstar Frankel (Galileo) taking all the plaudits as he heads into the Group 1 St James Palace Stakes. Two significant sprints open the days card with the Group 1 King's Stand attracting a field of 19 shorter-distance runners while the Queen Anne is the de facto kick-off where Canford Cliffs (Tagula) faces off against living-legend Goldikova (Anabaa).

The Royal Ascot meeting traditionally attracts the who's-who of European and global flat racing.

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