Because there are so many variables in horse racing handicapping it is often difficult to size up a race and come to a conclusion about the real chance of each horse winning. When that happens it is often best to just skip the race and move on the next in your quest for a winning bet. One of the most puzzling situations occurs when a young horse races at a new distance or on a new surface.
If the change is a new one and represents a situation that the horse hasn’t encountered in the past the logical step is to look at its breeding. The breeding of a horse often tells us whether it will handle the change well. But there are certain considerations that must be made. First of all, if the situation is new to the horse how well will it adapt without experience. Some sires produce good grass racers, but which ones require several attempts to acclimate to the new surface?
The same is true of the distance switch. If a horse is going to a much shorter distance than it previously raced, how will it handle the early speed? Sprinters usually encounter much more early speed and have to learn to gun to the front or within a few lengths of the leader to be within striking distance in most sprints, although there are some exceptions.
The role of the jockey can’t be overlooked. Some jockeys will be able to get a horse out of the gate fast enough o contend in a sprint while others simply don’t have the knack. The same is true of a horse going long for the first time. Some riders can settle a horse so the fractions in mid race will be soft enough to allow some run in the stretch.
If you are going to have a chance at finding good bets on horses that are experiencing a first time situation, whether it’s the surface, distance, or both, you need to determine which sires have precocious off spring that can handle the first time situation and which jockeys can communicate well enough with a horse to get it to accept the new situation without burning up too much energy.
It’s not enough to say a rider is good on grass or with young horses. With the highly competitive nature and small margins the modern horseplayer works with you need to fully understand the rider and sire and then you’ll be able to assess the horse’s true chances of winning.