Horse Racing

How ‘Going’ Affects Price Activity… (in Racing)

Going Change

Traders spend their whole life looking for an edge in the market. Front Runners, traded volumes, media coverage as they load…

All of these ‘can’ impact on the market. They’re no alone though, what about the ‘Going?’

The weather has a huge impact on horse racing, and while this is openly discussed – market moves aren’t always obvious. There are hours of debate on ATR and in the Racing Post about how each horse will handle the going, but no one forecasts which way the market will move.

This is an interesting angle if you can get it right. So, let’s look into how going affects racing prices…

What is the Going in Horse Racing?

If you’re new to racing, ‘Going’ is basically the description of the ground on the day of the race. It can be as complicated or as easy as you like. In a nutshell – the more it rains, the softer the ‘Going.’ Heavy is the worst the ground can be, while Firm is the hardest the ground can be.

In the UK now we use a Going Stick – this gives a reading on what to call the ground. Each clerk of the course can have different views on what is “Good” or “Good to Soft” are. The going stick aims to take this problem away from human decision. We still get errors, but less of them.

The different types of Going are:

  • Heavy
  • Soft
  • Good to Soft
  • Yielding (Ireland)
  • Good
  • Good to Firm
  • Firm

Pro gamblers are said to put a massive amount of work into answering the going question. The different ground is favourable to different pedigree’s. Especially in two-year-old races flat racing.

Likewise, they will spend countless hours calculating what type of ground we will have based on the forecast, even ignoring what the clerk of the course says. Which begs the question; should traders put more work into reading market moves based on ‘Going?’

Racing Going

Some believe that the ‘Going’ doesn’t have an effect on performance. Admittedly that’s not many; however, some people believe the best horse always wins regardless of Going. Think about it like a trader though; what do the crowd believe?

If the crowd believes a horse dislikes ‘Soft Going’ and it’s expected to rain all day, the horse may be more likely to drift. Yes, of course, you will have backers but from a trading point of view, this presents a great opportunity to profit.

In the betting where edges are under pressure from big data syndicates; the weather is a reactional variable you can still find big moves from.

Betfair Event Black

How Does Going Affect Traders & Price?

Going is definitely worth a look. A quick glance at the weather forecast isn’t good enough any more – we all know they get those wrong! Proper research and checking the radars is a good place to start. It’s a heavy workload at the start to find horses who perform better on certain types of Going, but it’s one of those things that gets easier over time because you build profiles of what you’re looking for.

It’s actually very similar to my daily shortlist of Front Runners. You can build a list of horses to follow based on going and keep track from there.

These are some of the things to start with…

High Profile Horses

The crowd will always know more about high profile horses and changes in the going will have a bigger impact on them. Remember Frankel at Ascot in the 2012 Champion Stakes. Everyone questioned him on the ground that day. He went off at a Betfair SP of 1.29 – his highest price that season apart from his first run back, and it was the only race that season that he traded 1.5+ in-running.

You can read more about views on how “the crowd” bet by clicking here.

Ignore Forecasts. Focus on Radars:

Forecasts can be completely wrong and the more in advance you look, the more wrong they can be. Checking the radars on what’s coming during that day is a tactic that the professional punters use.

So why not traders?

Obviously reading radars takes some time. But eventually, you’ll get good (seeing how it affects the days going).

2YO Races – Look at Pedigrees

This is perhaps where you can find a real big edge. Obviously there will be a lot of competition in this area of the market, but this can work to your advantage too.

Imagine this… you have a two-year-old whom you have done your research and the data points to the horse liking soft ground. It rains. Now Racing TV and every TV pundit is saying the pedigree suggests the horse will love the conditions. Likely to move the market?

The average punter won’t put that work in before hearing it off the TV; you’ll be ahead of the move!

Going type AW

Official Going Correct? Will it Change?

Going can change so quickly after the first race, jockeys often give feedback. Just be aware that this can happen, potentially you could have a race meeting that’s gone from everyone betting on it thinking it’s “Good” and now it’s “Soft”.

Race Times & ‘Actual Going’

Again this is something that a lot of pro punters do that traders can implement. Obviously you will have to check the first three or so races before coming to a rock-solid opinion. However, if the time of the first race is miles off and they’ve gone at an ok pace; perhaps you can form an opinion. Modern clerks will take into account the times of races, but not every course will do it. Again; this can give you a small edge.

Is Going the Most Subjective Variable in Horse Racing?

It’s fair to say it is. Although you will find that more people will feel it’s vitality important compared to those who don’t. Other than the horses well being in general; the conditions are the single biggest factor in whether or not the horse can perform to it’s best. Think about it – that HAS to move a market.

Doing some research in this area is definitely worth it. This is an area you can focus on and gain an edge on the crowd. It might be a lot more work than just pure trading by volume, but picking out what moves are likely to happen based on going changes is something that can be done for most traders; they just have to put the work in.

Related: Horse Racing Trading Strategies for Betfair

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