Horse Racing Goings
The horse racing goings are the ground conditions at UK racecourses or Irish racecourses on which the races will take place.
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:
- 1 The Different Types of Horse Racing Goings
- 2 Types of Official Going for All-Weather Racing
- 3 Do Horses Like Different Ground Conditions?
- 4 Summary of 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 (the racing surface).
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 are:
Firm going is the quickest and hardest type of racing surface, it is basically when the ground is firm or hard and there has been no rain.
Many trainers will not race their horses on firm ground due to the risk of injury.
Racecourses are watered when necessary to maintain some moisture in the ground to try to prevent firm going.
That said, there are some horses who are suited by fast ground but fields are usually small when the going is officially firm due to trainers being cautious about running.
Good to Firm Going
Good to firm is the official description of ground that is quick but has some “give” in it. It is 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. Ideally, racecourses are looking to maintain good ground.
Good to firm is a common going type in peak summer.
Good ground is considered ideal conditions for racehorses. It is when the ground has some cushion and moisture in it but it is neither hard nor soft underfoot.
When the going is good it will attract large fields at the big race meetings – only horses who need soft ground are likely to stay away. It is generally considered a safe racing ground.
Good to Soft Going or Yielding Going
Good to soft ground is good ground with a bit more moisture in it, a horse will make a print into the ground.
Good to soft ground has enough moisture in it to be considered suitable for horses who favour soft or a “bit of cut” as it is sometimes referred to.
Only fast ground specialists can be considered at a disadvantage in these conditions and may choose not to run.
It is officially known as yielding ground in Ireland.
Soft going is when the ground is soft and slightly muddy underfoot.
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 at other times of the season.
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 that could leave its mark and affect future targets.
Types of Official Going for All-Weather Racing
The types of going for all-weather racing are:
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, different horses like different ground conditions.
The going reports can determine the entries of a horse running and naturally impact the betting odds.
It is important to check the previous form on how a horse has run in the varying ground goings when trying to pick a winner.
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, with those with higher knee action preferring softer going.
Whereas some racehorses may be adaptable to different horse racing goings and win on various ground conditions.
The conditions may vary the performance, so it is important to read the horse racing results.
Summary of Racing Goings
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 and courses will go to great lengths to prevent going faster than good to firm so that conditions are safe for horses and jockeys.
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.
We hope you enjoyed this guide, be sure to check our horse racing blog (UK) for more topics and discussion.
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