Horse racing is a sport with a host of different variables, but some are more prevalent than others. These are six facts you may not have known about and the reasons why you should pay attention to them.
- Jockeys are weighed before and after each race
Jockeys are weighed twice to ensure that the horse they ride is carrying the weight it’s meant to before any race on UK race courses, and it’s a widely accepted fact that weight has a big influence on how a horse performs. This matters a lot in racing as even just one extra kilo can slow down effect of one length over 1600m, half a length in sprints or over two lengths in a distance of 2000m or more. So, the further the horse runs, the more it will slow down as a result of the weight carried.
- The Difference between Betting with Tote or Bookmaker is Vast
Most punters bet on the Tote rather than with bookies, but the difference can be big. If all the odds of all horses in a race are true, they would add to 100% but this doesn’t happen because the bookies add a percentage for themselves – the gross profit margin. With the Tote, you’re betting against all other punters and your return depends on the size of the total pool. In order to get the most value from your bet, you should compare the two to see which offers the better deal.
- The Going is Underrated
The state of the going is a variable which can really impact the performance of any horse, sometimes even overriding all other factors. There are some horses who are not affected by the ground of the track, but others are impacted a lot by it. The main distinction is between horses that need a wetter surface and those who are their best on a dryer surface – if a horse wins more on soft or heavy going, it’s a good indicator for future races too.
- Time is Valuable Information
Time figures represent the time-value of a performance, and the actual time recorded over a set distance doesn’t account for as much as you may think. Time figures need to be read in conjunction with the weather, the track and the surface conditions, as these variables can impact the time considerably. Horses capable of running a 1200m distance in 69 seconds on solid ground may well be as much as five seconds off that time in windier, wetter conditions.
- Bigger Races May be Run at Weight-For-Age
Weight-For-Age (WFA) is a concept introduced back in 1850 and it’s based on the belief that younger horses need time to mature before competing against more mature, experienced horses in order for an equal race. In the same way that young athletes need time to gain experience to compete against senior athletes, young horses need the equivalent, so older horses carry more weight to compensate for this. As a younger horse gets older, the weight difference reduces but this varies depending on the distance of the race.
- Rise in Class
Skilled punters notice the class of opposing horses in a race, with many believing that horses who drop in class will do better at a lower level so this can be a useful tip for choosing which horse to back in a race.