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Epsom groundstaff praised for beating fast going conditions and chafer grubs.

Byline: Matt Butler

TWO track records fell on Investec Derby day but Epsom clerk of the course Andrew Cooper has lauded his team for their work against several ground challenges, including the fast conditions.

The Surrey course attracted solid attendance figures for the two-day meeting, with 36,000 ticket racegoers at Epsom for the Derby, in line with last year's tally, while ladies' day, which featured the Investec-sponsored Oaks and Coronation Cup, sold 2,000 more tickets than last year with an attendance of just over 28,000.

Fine weather will have aided the attendance figures, and while Anthony Van Dyck was the star on the track, winning a recordequalling seventh Derby for Aidan O'Brien, Cooper praised his groundstaff for their handling of the quick conditions and the threat of chafer grubs.

Speaking on Saturday evening, Cooper said: "The Derby was an excellent contest with a thrilling finish. It has been a fabulous day.

"Clerks of the course sometimes worry about track records as they think the ground must be very quick. I just think we had an ideal combination to break track records. The ground wasn't rattling, but it was dry, good ground that horses could let themselves down on.

"Over these two days we see the best horses who will run at Epsom all year in high-quality races and so track records will come under threat.

"We had a track record in the Diomed Stakes and also in the last, the Investec Asset Management Handicap, by a second, and we nearly had one in the Dash.

"From a track perspective there has to be huge congratulations to Craig Williamson and Chris Youngs. Whatever the ground is like is down to them and their hard work."

Cooper, who is also clerk at nearby Sandown, will bring up a quarter of a century in the role at Epsom in 2020, but revealed there are always new challenges in the build-up to the Derby meeting every year.

He said: "It was my 24th year here and this place gets a real grip on you, as does the Derby. You never stop learning and Friday night was as much as we've ever watered when we put three millimetres down. Every year is different in terms of the ground and the build-up to the race.

"We set chafer grub traps this year. They were an attempt for us to monitor volume and location. We're actually spraying for them this coming week."

Surrey Police described the meeting as a success, with just six arrests recorded across the two days - all of which were made on Saturday.

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Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 3, 2019
Words:432
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