Punters are falling over themselves to back soft-ground horses on Saturday after it was revealed the Ascot round course was currently waterlogged in places.
With more rain forecast throughout this week, conditions for the six-race card that features four Group 1 prizes, look set to set to be to be testing.
However, Chris Stickels, Clerk of the Course, on Sunday issued a contingency should the meeting become in danger of not going ahead to switch round-course races to the inner course, which is in much better shape.
Stickels said: “The weather forecast is unsettled all week and connections of prospective runners are reminded of the race conditions, relating to the round course races.
“Racing on the outer course on Saturday may yet be possible but we have the option to switch. With waterlogged in today's going description, if we were racing today, we would be on the inner course.
“In the circumstances, with uncertainty over which round track will be used, the BHA has confirmed that irrespective of the decision, penalties will not be applied to any non-runners withdrawn from round course races due to the ground conditions.”
Strong Support Sees Addeybb Cut
The key horse in the QIPCO Champion Stakes is fast-becoming William Haggas' soft-ground lover Addeybb who now looks almost certain to go off market leader after strong support.
The seven-time winner revels in the mud and, with the likes of Enable and Crystal Ocean out of the way, appears to have been handed a golden opportunity to register his first success at the top level.
The big mover in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes is The Revenant who is a general 3/1 market leader despite being a 20/1 chance just a couple of weeks ago.
The French raider has won his last six starts, including a four-and-a-half length romp in Group 2 company last time and conditions have come firmly in his favour on his first try at the top level.
The other noteworthy springer is One Master, also trained by William Haggas, who has attracted sustained support for the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes (as short as 5/1 with Paddy Power having been available at 25/1 at the beginning of the month) after winning the Prix de la Foret on very soft ground at Longchamp on Arc day.
That seven-furlong success came on very soft ground and her trainer earmarked the Ascot sprint straight afterwards.
Punters Paying Attention
Paddy Power spokesman Paul Binfield told Bookmakers.co.uk: “Punters are heeding the Ascot Clerk’s description of the ground and searching out the soft ground horses.
“The Revenant will handle cut and has been a revelation this season, while the rain dance that William Haggas has performed on behalf of One Master and Addeybb seems to have worked the oracle in no uncertain terms.
“Some shrewd work watchers were at Newmarket last week to see Haggas work Addeybb on the Rowley Mile and the word is that he is in tremendous shape going into what looks his best opportunity to land a Group 1 prize.”
Betfair spokesman, Barry Orr, commented: ‘’With ground conditions currently being described between desperate and unraceable, it’s no surprise that horses who have a preference for plenty of give underfoot are attracting significant support.
“Addeybb, backed from 5/1 to 7/2, looks virtually certain to go off favourite in the Champion Stakes.”