Clerk of the course Chris Stickels is one of the busiest men at Ascot during Royal Ascot and he can’t wait for it all to get started again.
With just two weeks until Royal Ascot, everyone is preparing to put on a spectacular show.
It is of course long days for me during Royal Ascot, I get in about 5.30am. My first job is to walk the course, report back the Going description and any weather information from overnight. This is obviously important for all connections, racegoers and punters.
Then I check that the other facilities and areas of the racecourse that I am responsible for are ready for racing, meanwhile I will be answering calls from the media and connections to horses – owners, trainers and jockeys etc. They call about the going, the weather, watering, badge arrangements, parking, stabling arrangements, any other particular special requests too.
The condition of the course ie. the Going is what most people call me about. It is of particular interest because the Going (basically how much moisture is in the racing surface) may suit some horses more than others. They will also therefore want to know what the forecast is and any watering plans for the week; in order to determine how the Going may change as the week goes on.
I will walk the course again before racing with the Chairman of the Stewards and the BHA Course Inspector, to check that the course is set up for racing correctly and to determine if there is any change to the Going.
Then when racing is underway I oversee the racing operation, communicating with Groundstaff, BHA Officials, Stewards, Medical Staff, Vets and other staff in the equine areas aiming to run a safe, successful race meeting on time. Most of the time this is a smooth operation, but when incidents occur the team need to work well together to resolve problems and need good communication throughout. I watch the racing from a high vantage point near the finish line with the Stewards and the Stipendiary Stewards and have a great view of the whole course.
After racing I discuss track arrangements, watering plans and track repair plans with the Head Groundsman and have a chat with the Senior Doctor and Senior Vet and the raceday stewards to discuss any outstanding issues or events which require further attention.
I then attend a debrief with the Ascot Senior management team at about 7.30pm where we report on the day any outstanding issues are discussed. I then head home and prepare for the next day.
Royal Ascot is my favourite week of the year, with fantastic racing, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. We all get a little nervous in the lead up to the meeting as we feel a huge responsibility, but I am excited and really looking forward to it.
Tickets for this year's Royal Ascot are proving as popular as ever, with the Queen Anne Enclosure sold out on Thursday 16th, Friday 17th and Saturday 18th June. The Windsor Enclosure has sold out on both Thursday 16th and Saturday 18th June, with limited availability on Friday 17th June.
We still have availability on the opening two days of the Royal Meeting, while upgrades that include Queen Anne Enclosure admission are still available across all five days.For all latest availability and to book pleaseclick here.