In general, a small and tight turning track will favour leaders in short and middle distance races. Most dirt, sand based and all weather tracks favour on pace runners. On larger turf tracks with wider turns and a longer home straight it is usually possible to finish on from behind. There are no hard and fast rules, each course should be studied with track ratings and racing patterns recorded throughout the year. Eventually you will begin to recognise trends at the courses you regularly bet at, and this can help you to find horses that will be suited to the track bias of the day. For more information about track bias on every racetrack in Australia, go to australianracingreport.com and for a comprehensive track bias report for Melbourne & Sydney horse racing go to melbournetrackreport.com.
Q. Why do some horses win by leading and others by running on from behind?
A. Most horses have a style of racing that they prefer, the thing to do is find the horse (or horses) in each race whose racing style will be suited to the pattern (bias) of the day. Another factor to consider is pace, whether the race will be quickly or slowly run. Front running horses are usually suited in slow run races as they can save their energy for a late burst just before the winning post. If there are many horses fighting for the lead and the race is quickly run, this can set it up for a horse to finish on late from the back of the field.
Q. What are Blinkers or Blinders? What is their purpose?
A. Blinkers (USA Blinders) are cups placed just behind the horses eyes. Their main purpose is to restrict the vision of the horse at the side and focus their attention in the race. Some horses become distracted by other horses racing around them, the addition of Blinkers to their gear on race day can sometimes bring rapid improvement on the track. However, just like people, every horse is different and not all horses do better with Blinkers, it can vary depending on the racing style of the horse and the type of training it receives. Blinkers are different to Winkers, which is a sheepskin roll positioned either side of the horses head offering more side vision than Blinkers. Pacifiers are mesh cups placed over the horses eyes which can sometimes stop a horse from over-racing. They are rarely used on wet tracks as they can be clogged by mud.
Q. Why do horses carry different weights in some races?
A. There are two main types of races - Handicaps and Set Weights. In Handicaps, a horse will carry weights allotted by the handicapper, in an effort to give every horse an even chance based on its age, sex and past performances. Australia’s most famous Handicap race is the Melbourne Cup, where weights are determined at the discretion of Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper, sometimes controversially. In Set Weight (or Weight-For-Age) races, horses carry weight based on their age and sex alone, past performances and ratings are not a factor.
Go HERE for more Horse Racing Frequently Asked Questions...
Independent Guides to the World's Richest Thoroughbred Horse Races
Horse Racing Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. What is track bias?
A. Every track has its own characteristics which can be effected by the type of surface (grass, synthetic, dirt, sand base) and the weather (dry or rain affected). Some racetracks use a moveable rail which can be positioned at different points across the track and this will change the circumference of the course. All these factors mean conditions could favour horses racing near the lead or those finishing on from the back of the field.