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Saturday 14 September 2019

What is the Shortest Distance Thoroughbred Horses Race?

I follow two-year-old horse racing, so the early part of the season all juveniles race over the minimum trip which is five furlongs. This is most likely to do with maturation and not wanting to stress the growing limbs of thoroughbred horses in their formative racing year. This distance steadily increases as the season progresses. 

From a betting point of view, I quite like sprint racing. I do believe it is easier to assess a horse which, let's say, runs for a minute over a further distance. My good friend Eric Winner knows a lot more about sprint racing than I will ever understand and has his own rating system because he states (and knows) that standard median times published by racecourses are fundamentally flawed. 

I know Eric has told me his ratings work very well for sprinters and that he could use this process for horses running up to one mile. However, the further the distance the more difficult is becoming to predict the outcome. 

That sounds logical. When you consider how many races beyond the minimum trip are run tactically or simply that no one in the field wants to lead. 

In many ways, I enjoy the two-year-old sprint races best. It adds even more life into the race when on a turning track. I do think running over five furlongs on a turning course can seem like an even shorter trip. It is probably that horses save a little bit of energy when running around a bend. I have seen a good few sprinting two-year-olds which have struggled to get the five-furlong and could be classed as a short runner win quite well at courses such as Kempton, Chelmsford & Wolverhampton. This is especially so when starting from a low draw.  

It is interesting that most thoroughbred horse racing from around the world has a minimum trip of 5f. However, I did notice a few of Wesley Ward's two-year-old which come to race at Royal Ascot started their career at Keeneland. They have an official distance of four-and-a-half furlongs. The likes of Lady Aurelia who won the Queen Mary Stakes (group 2) by seven lengths back in 2016 won on debut in the US [Keeneland] in a time of 50.85s. 

The fastest horses in the world are sprinters.

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