Number 4 – The going
One of the most important elements in the equation of what makes a winner is the going; or how hard or soft the racing surface is. Going can range from heavy to firm or even hard when racing is on grass (turf) while on the all weather 95% of races are run on “Standard” surface and it is the “type” of surface and “where” it is that dictates whether a horse will like it or not. For example the surface at Southwell is fibresand, which is a close equivalent to a dirt surface in the USA. Many horses don’t like it because it is like running on a sandy beach. However certain horses do thrive on it and this preference is dictated by the horse’s parents (particularly the Dad or Sire). There is a list of sires that gives the performance statistics for their progeny on different surfaces – turf and all weather. So you will hear commentators say “His sire likes a bit of cut in the ground” – which means they think that his son or daughter will do well under the same conditions.
An example of fibres and preference:
Dynaformer – 38% of all his progeny who have raced on Fibresand have won. Compare this to Motivator who has yet to have a winner.
An example of turf going preference:
Motivator has a 40% strike rate when the ground is firm versus 0% if the ground is heavy. Zoffany on the other hand likes it heavy or soft with 25% strike rate versus only 10% if the ground is good or firm.