The going is determined by the amount of moisture in the ground.
It is measured by the clerk of the racecourse and is a very important factor because some horses prefer running on a certain type of going.
Find out more about horse racing goings:
The Different Types of Horse Racing Goings
The official going is given by the clerk of the course to describe the state of the ground. This is important because racehorses perform differently on different surfaces, many displaying a distinct preference for either faster or slower ground. Generally fast conditions favour the sharper, speed horses while soft ground puts the emphasis on stamina and favours the stronger, staying type of horse.
Types of official going on turf:
Many trainers will not race their horses on firm ground due to the risk of injury and racecourses are watered when necessary to maintain some moisture in the ground. There are some horses who are suited by fast ground but fields are usually small when the going is officially firm.
Good to Firm
Good to firm is the official description of ground that is quick but has enough give in it to be considered suitable for most racehorses. Racecourse officials are constantly monitoring the weather and will water the track if the ground is fast with no rain forecast.
Good ground is considered ideal conditions for racehorses. This will attract large fields at the big meetings and only horses who need soft ground are likely to stay away.
Good to Soft/Yielding
Good to Soft ground has enough moisture in it to be considered suitable for horses who favour a bit of cut. Only fast ground specialists can be considered at a disadvantage in these conditions. It is officially known as yielding ground in Ireland.
Soft ground is common during the jumps season and National Hunt horses are generally better able to handle these conditions. Soft ground has a greater impact on flat racing, sometimes turning the form book upside down for horses used to racing on good or fast ground.
Heavy going is the official description of saturated ground and this is as testing as it gets for racehorses. Trainers are reluctant to risk their best horses in these conditions, fearing a gruelling race which could leave its mark and affect future targets.
Types of official going on All-Weather
Even artificial surfaces are affected by the weather and can still vary. A fast all-weather track has minimal moisture in it and will result in very fast times.
As the name suggests, this is considered the ideal or standard surface for all-weather racing.
When all-weather tracks contain a lot of moisture, they are described as slow and this will be reflected in the times.
Do horses like different ground conditions?
Yes absolutely. Racehorses enjoy different ground conditions and the going reports can determine the entries of a horse running.
It is important to check the previous form on how a horse has run in the varying ground goings.
A horse’s trainer decision to run a horse can depend on the ground conditions.
Some horses are specialists on a particular ground condition because of their running action.
Whereas some racehorses may be adaptable to different horse racing goings and win on various ground conditions.
The going is a very important factor to consider with your horse racing betting. You should be particularly wary of extremes of going. Firm ground is rarely seen outside of the summer jumping season and Grade 1 tracks will go to great lengths to prevent going faster than good to firm.
The British weather can change the going dramatically in a short period of time so it is can be a factor in ante-post betting. Trainers will not hesitate to withdraw their best horses if conditions turn against them.
You can profit from noting down horses with a clear ground preference. By studying a horse’s form and reading post-race comments, you can pinpoint those likely to improve in extremes of going.