While everyone would love to know the magic formula for choosing a horse guaranteed to win, the beauty of the sport is that there is no definitive. Choosing your winning horse doesn’t mean selecting the horse each race that you think will win, it means choosing one you will support and follow through its career. So, how do you choose the right horse to invest in?
Check Track Record
One of the most important aspects of choosing a horse is to see how it performs. Some do well at smaller races but do badly at larger meets. Others do well on specific courses or in other climates. Some are bred for speed, while others are bred for stamina. Checking the track record of each horse can help you decide which one you want to support.
As the list of all Cheltenham results shows, there are a variety of races from France to New Zealand, South Africa to the Middle East, as well as those based at Cheltenham. This helps keep track of the odds on each horse, which tell us how likely they are to win. It also helps show progression and horses which may be on the decline. Track records can be useful to see which horses are statistically likely – and experienced enough – to win.
Check the Breeder
Selecting a horse based on its record is one thing, but its racing pedigree must be present. Some horses are bred to win. For example, Northern Dancer, a winning racehorse from the 1960s has left quite the legacy. His bloodline has been so strong that his descendants have also succeeded.
Indeed, since 1994, the male side of every winner of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe tracks back to Northern Dancer. He wasn’t particularly tall – just 15.2 hands high – but possessed stamina that was carefully cultivated in his offspring and beyond. Selecting a horse with a strong bloodline and a good breeder could help you choose a horse with the capacity to win.
Check the Rider
While even Ruby Walsh couldn’t make a bad horse a victor, the rider does have an impact on the result of a horse race. Norway’s Tromsø University conducted research that established a cognitive connection between horse and rider. The study found that the jockey and horse must both be working to the same goal to create a sense of ‘co-being.’
Finding riders who have not just succeeded in the past but have longstanding relationships and proven connections with their horses is important. A cognitive connection can benefit the rider and horse in the race and their track record as they progress to the same goal together.
Choosing the winning horse in a horse race takes some skill. Some people like to play the odds and change who they support each time, while others follow horses, riders, and even bloodlines through their careers. No matter how you choose the winning horse for you, there is a wealth of information to make a decision you can stand by.