Assessing horses making their second start

Assessing horses making their second start.

We touched upon about some factors to look for when assessing horses making their racecourse debut but it’s well known amongst professional circles that one area that is less factored in the betting market is the performance of certain stables when horses appear for the second time on the racecourse.

The reason why a noticeable improvement can be made with certain yards in these set of circumstances is partly due to the training regime. Some trainers prefer not to get their horses fully fit and ready to win first time out and bring their horses along or should I say hope to see improvement from their first outing.

This aspect is important for many connections as a horse making its debut is likely to show greenness and by giving it a hard time first time out might send it backwards, just like with humans if you experience some form of activity that you have never done before and you don’t enjoy it then you will be less keen to show a willingness to perform the task again, if however, your first experience was not unpleasant or even remotely enjoyable then you would show a better application the next time you give it a try, horses are no different in that respect.

First I would look at what are the possibilities of horse improving for its second run, by watching what was achieved on its debut outing. The question I would like to answer are as follows;

1) Did the horse show greenness, ie; during the race was it evident that the horse was a bit clueless when racing? This is often indicated by body language such as an awkward head carriage or not being able to keep in a straight line either when not under pressure or being asked for an effort by its pilot. I would also check how the horse behaved before the race commenced, such as did it use up vital energy on the way to post or did it become fractious when entering the stalls, these are important elements to consider because a horse showing these attributes will have used up vital energy and are less likely to perform well once the race has started. However, they will have learned a lot from that initial experience and if they behave well second time out before the start then there is a good possibility of producing a better run.

2) How did the horse finish its race? did it look outpaced, weakened or was it staying on, possibly after a slow start? The more you watch races the better you will improve your ability to spot future potential winners.

3) Check the record of stables that have a knack of getting regular winners on their second start and the less fashionable a stable is then the more likely you will be able to obtain better odds.