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racing news/

york racecourse
York's Royal preparations going well
04/05/2004

Preparations are well underway for next year's Royal Ascot at York with the first stage of the course extension completed.

In order to run races like the Gold Cup over two and a half miles and the Queen Alexandra Stakes, which is over a further two furlongs, the Knavesmire track had to be lengthened.

A fully drained and cambered three furlongs had to be constructed to complete a full circuit of the course.

All the earthworks were finished last month and clerk of the course William Derby said today: "Luckily, all the excavating was done before the rains arrived and we now plan to turf the new part of the track in June.

"It will make the whole circuit 15 furlongs, so the Gold Cup start will be at the five-furlong start and the Queen Alexandra will start from the seven-furlong."

The new surface will be thoroughly tested before next June as Derby explained.

He said: "We plan to have a long-distance race before next year's Royal Ascot fixture, hopefully at next year's May meeting. That would give the turf time to settle, but we would do some trials and gallop some horses on it before then."

A limit of 50,000 paying customers has been put on each of the five days of Royal Ascot at York, but officials at the track still intend to have a free area on some of the 110 acres of the Knavesmire, which is common land.

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