Factors Affecting Racehorse Performance

When you’re deciding which horse to back, or which specific wagers to place on a race, there are a lot of issues to consider. All of them affect a sprinter’s performance, but each situation is different. Weigh up the impact that each factor has on a case-by-case basis, and use this information to place winning bets.

Relationship with Jockey

As Frankie Dettori says, you have to know what makes your horse tick. The renowned jockey is famous for the incredible relationships he has with the animals he rides, and this connection has helped him bag over 500 Group race wins.

If horse and rider interact well, the former responds to subtle commands and the latter knows how to manage any unwanted behaviour. Seeing a jockey and horse in tune as they run is poetry in motion, and can mean the difference between first and second place.

Days Since Last Run

Some sprinters do well after a prolonged absence, when all they have done is rest and train. Others hit their stride and make their best times after a few races, when they’ve been worked out enough to achieve optimal fitness. Specific training schedules and time spent travelling will also influence how many days an animal rests between runs, and overall fatigue levels.

Time of Year

If you look at the race history of almost any runner, you’ll notice that they peak during specific seasons or even months. Part of this is down to the individual fitness programmes that each trainer puts them through, but the time of year can also affect a horse’s condition on a more basic level. Keep your eyes open and make a not of which of them come to hand and peak in early spring, and which of them flourish with workouts and sun on their back to make the best times later in summer.


The varieties of headgear that can make a difference on the track include visors, blinders, eye shields, cheekpieces and tongue ties. Tongue ties are used to stop a horse getting its tongue over the bit, which can make them very difficult to control, while the other types are used to help the animals concentrate. Their excellent peripheral vision and hearing means they’re easily spooked and distracted, and liable to run away or veer off course when they’re in that state.

Ground and Distance

Usually, a horse’s preferred ground and distance is the same as it was for their sire. That make knowing how to bet on horse racing much more easier and predictable. However, this is not always the case. Sire statistics are heavily relied upon when a runner is young, and has not yet had a long enough career to show its own habits. Once they’re older, you’ll be able to review past performances to get a clear idea of the distances and ground – dirt, turf or synthetic – that they do best on.

Running Style

Ultimately, horses are very individual creatures, and each has their own unique personality. This influences their behaviour on the track; some thrive by racing neck-and-neck; others collapse under this kind of pressure. Consider a sprinter’s style, both along and in reaction to their competitors.