How much impact will that have? Well, the first thing to say is that it is still raining so there will be no drying out of the surface any time soon. The first two days have shown a clear advantage to the stands side on the straight course, but the bias shown by jockeys to that side means it will likely be more cut up now and could potentially have soaked in more rain than the fresher far side of the course, negating any advantage there may have been.
The rain could also have a big impact on the hopes of Stradivarius, the big-name favourite bidding to complete a Gold Cup hat-trick today. It is thought the extra tackiness in the ground will not suit him and his trainer John Gosden had this to say on ITV’s Opening Show earlier:
There’s little you can do about it but he loves to cruise … on fast summer ground and then put in that electrifying turn of foot which deals with his opponents. I think it’s a bit what Muhammad Ali said, he won’t be able to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee today, I’m afraid with the ground, it’s more likely to be rope-a-dope.
We will be running, we’re not going to disappoint people. He’s on his way down on the van now. Last year [on] Champions Day was a huge decision to run, that again was very soft ground, we actually used the hurdles course which hadn’t been raced on since the previous National Hunt season. He’s not the same horse on that, it’s more of a slog and he can’t show that same ability to quicken after two miles. He got chinned there, but look, we’re game on.
That headline act comes at 3.35pm and is the fifth of seven races from Ascot today.