One of the ways you can select a horse to carry your hopes is by watching the runners in the parade ring before they head out onto the course.
This is not an exact science but some of the things you can look out for include:
- Does the horse look at ease in its surroundings? Is it relaxed? A horse that is on edge or is sweating could be exerting too much energy before the race.
- Does your horse ‘look well in its coat’? Is its coat shiny? Are its eyes bright? These are all signs of good health.
- Is it a good walker? While walking is no guarantee of a fast gallop, many racegoers like to look for a horse with an athletic walk that covers the ground easily.
- Does the horse look fit and athletic? It should not be carrying too much ‘condition’ i.e. extra weight. That can be a sign that it is not at full fitness yet.
- It should have good muscle definition and a well developed rump and hind legs. These are the horses’ engine.
Experienced paddock watchers may have a personal liking for different equine traits; some swear by big ears as being a sign of a willing horse or when the going is soft they may look for horses with big hooves.
Whilst none of these things are a fail safe way of finding a winner, visiting the parade ring is a chance to get up close to the stars of the show before the race.