The home of intelligent horse racing discussion
The home of intelligent horse racing discussion

How the weather and other factors can impact a horse race


When analysing a horse race, you should always look at core factors such as form, class, trainer and jockey to determine whether a particular runner will be able to perform and potentially win.

Weather is another of the primary factors that could change a race’s outcome on the day. In Europe and especially the UK, most races take place on grass, not all-weather synthetic surfaces.

When talking about the weather in horse racing, punters usually use the word “going”, which is a term that assesses the amount of moisture in the ground before the race. An official steward measures this on race day via a visual inspection with a tool called a penetrometer.

The findings are then relayed to officials for the benefit of both trainers and punters, who can use the reading and the weather forecast to support their decision making.

Rainfall has a significant impact on the going conditions. Precipitation before the race meet, for example, can soften the turf and make it “heavy” and very wet for horses to run on. This makes it a greater test for a horse’s stamina. Heavy conditions are expected during the winter and early spring.

In contrast, “firm” ground during the flat season in the summer can make it easier for horses to reach top speed and post fast race times. There are other types of going, including good to firm, good, good to soft and soft.

When betting on the biggest events in the racing calendar, it is always a good idea to take note of the weather and going conditions beforehand.

The Cheltenham Festival is the first major race meeting of the year in the UK. The fact that it takes place in March means the going is usually softer so you should consider this before taking advantage of free Cheltenham bets from

That’s because the going and how horses have performed in similar conditions in the past could have an impact on how they perform at Cheltenham. Stamina and form are linked to going, so take a look at those to inform your decision making when backing a horse.

These are not the only factors that can influence a horse race, though. There are potentially dozens of elements that can play into how a horse performs on a race day. Essential stats to look out for include the number of days since a horse last ran, the racecourse and distance, a horse’s class and weight, and the latest odds.

While there is no single factor that can drive long-term profits when betting on horses, you should try to combine them to pinpoint potential winners. It is also essential to spot red flags before betting. For example, if a horse is not “proven” in certain going conditions, it is probably best to avoid betting on that horse.

You can use all of this information to make better bets on horse racing before and during race meets and improve your chances of winning.