Aintree water to maintain ground
Watering continues at Aintree
(Healy Racing Photos)
Both the Mildmay and Grand National courses are being watered and every precaution is being taken to make the action as safe as possible for horse and rider.
"We've done a bit of watering. It's been raining today but we've not had a lot, probably about a millimetre and a bit," said clerk of the course Andrew Tulloch.
"After today it looks mainly dry with showers on Friday. We'll probably do more watering tomorrow. Temperatures have cooled off quite a bit.
"There's some uncertainty as to what the weather is going to do next week. We'll just keep monitoring it.
"At the moment all courses are good, with good to soft places on the National course. If we can keep it round about that it would be great. If it eases a bit more I wouldn't be too worried.
"The dry weather we had perked things up a bit and we'll just keep an eye on things.
"We've done about a week's watering. When we had the warm weather we were watering every other day.
"We've had a similar amount of rainfall as we had last year and the water authority say we're up to 15% capacity, which is good.
"Next week looks a bit more unsettled, but it's quite far out to say for sure."
The four-and-a-half-mile contest was the subject of negative headlines after two horses died, and a number of horses, including the winner, Ballabriggs, were dismounted after the line.
The dismounting had been a pre-planned contingency and on the instruction of officials, a fact the British Horseracing Authority conceded was not communicated as well as it might have been to the public at the time.
The racecourse management have invested heavily in equipment for horse welfare.
Tulloch said: "We've put an additional pop-up irrigation system on either side of Becher's and made a wash-down unsaddling area on sand with up to 16 wash-down points and we've got shaded areas in case it is hot.
"We've taken lots of precautions. One thing that was criticised last year was communication of the sport.
"We're having a misting machine. Eventing use them at the end of the cross-country and we've borrowed one from Greenwich (venue for London Olympic equestrian events). It's basically a misting fan. You put in droplets of water and it sends it out as a mist.
"We've also invested quite heavily in a water carrier with a pump with a hose at the end of it. It gives good pressure, it's a portable system, so you can take it on the course and anywhere we might need it."
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