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Different types of horse racing tracks
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New to horse racing? There are even a couple of figure-of-eight tracks. Some only hold Flat racing, some only jump racing, while others have both. The lengths of British horse racing tracks and their range of race distances are measured in miles m and furlongs f.

A furlong is yards m. There are 8 furlongs to 1 mile m. Divide that by two, which gives you 8 furlongs. The state of the going is usually determined by the amount of moisture in the ground and is assessed by an official called the Clerk of the Course. It is important information because different horses act best on different horse racing ground types. The factors which go into determining horse racing ground types include surface conditions, type of surface, and track configuration.

The surface conditions are influenced by soil type. Different terms are used to describe the horse racing ground and types of going. Horse racing ground types used to be assessed by the Clerk of the Course walking round the track and pushing either his heel or the pointed end of his walking stick into the ground. It was pretty amateurish and subjective. Horse racing ground types and conditions are measured by a device called a Going Stick.

The Going Stick was introduced at all British turf racecourses in From January it became a requirement for a Going Stick reading to be published by each racecourse at declaration stage two days before the race, when horses are declared to run and again on race day. The Going Stick is pushed into the ground and, depending on how far it goes in, a numerical reading will be produced, showing how much moisture is in the ground. The Going Stick takes various measurements to produce an overall reading.

It measures the resistance to vertical penetration into the ground, the amount of force required, and the amount of energy required to pull the Going Stick backwards to an angle of 45 degrees, which equates to the action of a horse striking the ground at a gallop. The combined measurements produce the Going Stick readings for horse racing ground types. The data is automatically stored on the Going Stick.

Multiple readings are taken to produce an average from a sample size. There are different calibrations of the Going Stick for Flat racing and for jumps racing. To determine their respective horse racing ground types, the calibration is simply changed with the flick of a switch. The scale for the Going Stick reading of horse racing ground types ranges from 0 to 15, with 0 being the softest and 15 being the hardest.

Readings of 5 correspond to the heaviest of horse racing ground types, with a reading of 10 corresponding to hard going. Going Stick readings will be specific to individual racecourses.

Sandy soils are more permeable horse racing ground types than clay-based soils, which will hold water for a greater length of time. Sandy soil will thus be looser than clay-based soil which will stick and cling together when wet. So, as the Going Stick takes its reading through resistance to vertical penetration, it will react differently in clay and sand-based soils.

For example, Ayr and Pontefract are sand-based soils, Carlisle and Chepstow are clay-based, while Epsom, Goodwood and Salisbury are all chalk-based. Such different horse racing ground types are likely to produce different Goi.

There are six all-weather racecourses in Britain. Their surfaces were once quite different. However, there are now only two types in use for British all-weather racing; Polytrack and Tapeta. Polytrack consists of silica sand and fibres made of recycled carpet, spandex and rubber. The mixture is then covered with wax.

There is virtually no kickback. It leaves less of an impression when raced on and quickly regains its shape. Tapeta is similar to Polytrack. It consists of a mixture of sand, rubber and fibres coated with wax.

Like Polytrack, it has almost no kickback. Both types of surfaces are worked regularly with machines such as power harrows and rollers. Sometimes this can create temporary draw biases, particularly when there has been a distinct change in the weather, such as heavy rain or a sharp frost. Hopefully, this will help explain the various horse racing ground types and how the going is assessed.

This information is important for bookmakers and punters alike. Over jumps, horses can line up wherever their jockeys choose to put them. Usually with a horse racing draw, stall 1 is on the left, while the highest number is furthest to the right. On left-handed courses the lowest draw is next to the inside rail, while the highest draw is next to the inside rail for a right-handed track. The horse racing draw can have a significant effect on the outcome of a race, particularly when there are a lot of runners.

The more runners in a race, the more important the draw. The draw is more relevant at some courses than others. Chester is a good example. For example, in sprint races on a left-handed course, if a horse drawn low is slow leaving the starting stalls, those drawn on outside of it can get over towards the rail. That puts the horse drawn low at a disadvantage, as it then needs to move out wide to go around them.

As for longer races around bends, the horse drawn closest to the rail has less distance to cover is more likely to have an advantage. A horse racing draw bias refers to whether or not a horse has an advantage or disadvantage from the stall they have been drawn in. A tight, left-handed racecourse with a short home straight is the perfect formula to produce a draw bias.

Being drawn low, especially in a sprint race, is an advantage as the horses near to the rail have less distance to cover. Chester has the best-known horse racing draw bias of any course in the country. Horses drawn low in five-furlong sprint races have a massive advantage. Those drawn in stalls 1, 2 or 3 invariably start at shorter prices than their chance on form suggests. The opposite is true in straight races at Lingfield.

A high draw puts horses closer to the rail than those drawn lower. Races of between five and seven furlongs display the draw bias most often. Horses drawn in gates 5 to 8 win more often than those that start in gates 1 to 4.

At Beverley, the last furlong is uphill and slopes to the right. That gives a distinct advantage to horses drawn high who can maintain their position in the closing stages. Similar comments apply to Salisbury and Carlisle in five- and six-furlong races. However, for six- and seven-furlong races, which start from spurs and run downhill to the home turn, low numbers are the ones to be on. Catterick is a sharp, left-handed track.

Runners drawn low in races between five and seven furlongs do better than those drawn in the higher numbered stalls. In horse racing, the runners tend to bunch together as the race progresses. That can lead to interference, particularly when there are lots of runners. Furthermore, weather conditions can affect the state of the course. For instance, if it has rained heavily, the way the course drains could make one section of the course quicker than the rest, creating a bias.

A course that has a camber and directs the water towards the inside or outside rail will mean that horses drawn on that side will find the turf heavier and slower than the part of the course from which it has drained.

Usually, the longer the race, the less relevance can be attached to the horse racing draw. However, here are two examples of big races where the draw is a major factor. This race used to be run over two miles m but its distance was reduced to one mile six furlongs m a few years ago.

Second, the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle, run over two miles m. This is among the most competitive handicaps of the year and there is always a large field of about 20 runners. Again, those drawn on the stands side are disadvantaged. Last updated June 22, This site uses cookies to enhance user experience. Decline Accept cookies.

 
 

 

The Different Kinds Of Horse Races Explained

 

The Pimlico track is a one-mile dirt oval on the outside of a turf track of seven furlongs. If the going is soggy, outside front runners tend to do better. Front runners can also benefit from firmer conditions during the spring.

Top of the list, of course, is the Belmont Stakes, which is the final leg of the Triple Crown. Consequently, the Belmont Park track lacks any noticeable bias. These high-caliber race days draw crowds of up to 40, during the winter months.

When the going is firm, the horses running on the inside tend to do better, but outside positions are more favorable after rain, so be sure to pay attention to the draw when placing NYRA bets. Saratoga has the distinction of being the oldest major racetrack in the US, hosting high-quality events in Saratoga Springs, New York ever since One possible reason is that the Saratoga racetrack is known to play fair at all distances, which helps to level out the horse racing odds.

Some commentators say the track somewhat favors horses on the inside, especially if they have early speed and can keep the lead. The track bias may be influenced by the weather or how many races have run on the track recently. The system’s purpose is to reduce the amount of standing water on the racetrack by having porous layers of surface that the water flows through quickly. Research has shown that less equine fatalities occur on synthetic courses than on dirt.

But, like with some data in horse racing, there is controversy. Synthetic tracks are relatively new and it might not be fair to compare numbers from a new surface to a track that owns a year old dirt course. More Eighth Pole: How I got into horse racing. There are also trainers who claim the horses often sustain odd and hard to diagnose injuries from racing on the man-made surfaces and jockeys have mentioned a fall on the synthetic track «can be like hitting cement.

Catastrophic injuries and breakdowns can happen at anytime in our sport, no matter what track surface you run on or where you train. Breakdowns can also occur due to things other than surface and these reasons are often overlooked or ignored.

Track surface is important, but so too is track maintenance. We sometimes see turf courses that are so dry, it looks like pavement. We also see deeply saturated racetracks, where any horse near the rail just seems to run in place in the knee-deep muck. It’s easy for a horse to take a bad step and get injured on a poorly maintained racetrack. Medications, overbreeding, unsoundness, poor training and basic incompetence, can also contribute to breakdowns.

Multiple readings are taken to produce an average from a sample size. There are different calibrations of the Going Stick for Flat racing and for jumps racing. To determine their respective horse racing ground types, the calibration is simply changed with the flick of a switch. The scale for the Going Stick reading of horse racing ground types ranges from 0 to 15, with 0 being the softest and 15 being the hardest. Readings of 5 correspond to the heaviest of horse racing ground types, with a reading of 10 corresponding to hard going.

Going Stick readings will be specific to individual racecourses. Sandy soils are more permeable horse racing ground types than clay-based soils, which will hold water for a greater length of time.

Sandy soil will thus be looser than clay-based soil which will stick and cling together when wet. So, as the Going Stick takes its reading through resistance to vertical penetration, it will react differently in clay and sand-based soils.

For example, Ayr and Pontefract are sand-based soils, Carlisle and Chepstow are clay-based, while Epsom, Goodwood and Salisbury are all chalk-based. Such different horse racing ground types are likely to produce different Goi. There are six all-weather racecourses in Britain. Their surfaces were once quite different. However, there are now only two types in use for British all-weather racing; Polytrack and Tapeta.

Polytrack consists of silica sand and fibres made of recycled carpet, spandex and rubber. The mixture is then covered with wax. There is virtually no kickback. It leaves less of an impression when raced on and quickly regains its shape. Tapeta is similar to Polytrack. It consists of a mixture of sand, rubber and fibres coated with wax.

Like Polytrack, it has almost no kickback. Both types of surfaces are worked regularly with machines such as power harrows and rollers. Sometimes this can create temporary draw biases, particularly when there has been a distinct change in the weather, such as heavy rain or a sharp frost. Hopefully, this will help explain the various horse racing ground types and how the going is assessed.

This information is important for bookmakers and punters alike. Over jumps, horses can line up wherever their jockeys choose to put them. Usually with a horse racing draw, stall 1 is on the left, while the highest number is furthest to the right. On left-handed courses the lowest draw is next to the inside rail, while the highest draw is next to the inside rail for a right-handed track. The horse racing draw can have a significant effect on the outcome of a race, particularly when there are a lot of runners.

 
 

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