6th May 2017

I must stress that I have great sympathy for clerks of courses who are over-watering and wrongly describing the going in order to avoid any chance of the ground going to firm and owners and trainers withdrawing their horses. It is pretty much universally accepted that good-firm is the optimum condition of turf for flat racing and the BHA instruct clerks to aim for good-firm ground. But the fact is that most of them aim for softer.

Today the forecast ground for Ayr on Monday was changed from Good-Firm to Good-Firm: Good in places. I phoned the course, asked if it had rained, and was told that there has been no rain for fourteen days. I then asked what they expected the ground to be come Monday and they said, ‘we are watering now to maintain it as it is now’. I pointed out that they are supposed to be aiming for Good-Firm but the clerk said that he was aiming to keep it as it is now, Good-Firm: Good in placed.

Well, at least he is honest but he isn’t following BHA instructions and I do wonder whether he, like many others, is even aware of the instruction.

There should be a complete review of the way going is described and what they are allowed to do with watering to alter it.

Staff Area