Mounting Yard Tips
A close look - The mounting yard provides the perfect chance to get to know each horse
What is the mounting yard parade to you? A chance to see the gallopers first hand, a social place to meet or a serious part of a betting strategy?
Much has been written about the art of analysing horses in the yard and yet still so many theories exist. The Race Guide's Mike Wood provides a short-list of the four most important things he thinks you should check for.
"The first thing to look for is Type. The general conformation of a horse is something a race analyst should be across before the race day, but if there is any doubt, you can get to know the animal even better in the yard. A gallopers record across different race tempos and tracks starts to make sense when you know the horse.
A powerful type can sprint home off a slow tempo, but may not be suited when the pace is strong, even if they are a back-marker. Other examples include tougher types preferring Royal Randwick to Rosehill, and light athletic types often lacking a turn-of-foot. The pages of The Race Guide brings many of these Factors to life during the week."
"It comes down to knowing the horse. The more knowledge you have, the more you know what you see is going to mean." Jo Pride, Sydney trainer.
"The next thing you are looking for is fitness. Winning a Saturday race is never easy, and most gallopers are handicapped to their best, so they need to be at top fitness to win.
Prime suspects worth checking will be gallopers that are first-up, or from certain stables. Depending on the horse, a shiny coat, good muscle definition and no excess weight are the key signs of a fit horse."
Not ready - La Amistad carried weight and had a dull coat in September 2014, she finished 7th at 11/4
"A risky one as it can be over-played in the market. Some gallopers are always a bit "fizzy" in the yard, so misbehaviour won't be a negative sign. When there is enough nervous energy spent over the entire mounting yard parade you will start to discount the chances though. Too much sweating on a cool day is a great way to tell if a horse isn't relaxed.
Another sign that a galloper won't perform at their best is when the ears are back and body language suggests they don't want to be on the track. If the strapper is dragging them around the yard like a moody teenager, what hope does a 54kg jockey have!"
"A horses head can tell you a fair bit. If they've got their ears pricked, they're alert and they want to be there. If a horse is sour, ears back, cranky, jogging, it's likely to be a negative." Ron Dufficy, Sky Racing
"The hardest one to detect and it usually takes a good knowledge of each individual horse. It's more obvious when a flashy chestnut starts to show a dip in form alongside a leaner frame and duller coat. It's less obvious when a horse still looks well, but their stride and action appear 'tighter' than before."
All quotes above from "The Winner's Circle" ATC Carnival magazine, Spring 2014