The Bangkok horse-racing scene typically goes like this. It’s a sweltering Sunday afternoon. Concentrating hard on their favorite steeds, the crowd on the stand – most of whom are binocular-attached punters – rises to their feet with a deafening roar once ‘Chok Dee’ (Lucky) reaches the ‘bell lap’ (the final lap of a race).
The commentator’s voice reaches a near-hysterical pitch as the excitement mounts in the Royal Bangkok Sports Club stadium… Although not quite a scene one would expect to witness in Bangkok, horse-racing events do have their fair share of followers and offer an exhilarating experience.
You may think that the winners and losers of a horse race comes down to luck on the day, but that’s not the whole truth. There is a lot of strategy, tactical riding and horse racing tips on the part of the jockey that come into performing well in horse racing. These are some of the tricks of the trade that jockeys rely on to boost their chances of success, from the colors they wear to the timing of their decisions. If you’re a betting man, check out todays best nap tip, for some help to win a little extra cash.
Notice the Start of the Race
When looking at the jockeys, not the horses, it’s important to pay attention to the start of the horse race. One of the ways a jockey can improve the prospects of the horse is by throwing their weight forward instead of backwards which helps them leap from the barriers by giving them extra weight in that direction. This is important, as a slow getaway can cost a horse anything from a length to as much as six lengths.
Posture plays a big part in the likelihood of a racing win and studies have shown that the unique position that jockeys sit in is paramount to success. The ‘monkey crouch’ position is credited with success and after it was popularised in the late 1800s, it forced English riders to abandon their upright seat in favour of a more compact position. ‘Sitting chilly’ became the normal practice and research shows that jockeys who move with the horse, scrubbing on its neck, particularly in the stretch, can actually make the horse perform better.
Superstitions are common in horse racing and it’s well known that several jockeys have their quirks when heading out for a race in order to add a dash of luck to their day. For example, National Hunt jockey Sam Twiston-Davies has a superstition that relies on him saluting any magpie he sees on his way to the post. Similarly, Frankie Dettori applied white tape to his saddle before each victory after winning the Epsom Derby in 2007 and 2015. There are even superstitions about racing colors, such as in Hong Kong where red is considered lucky so you’ll see a lot of red worn on race day from both attendees and jockeys.
Timing is Everything
Knowing the best time to hit the turbo button is paramount as horses can give maximum effort for up to four furlongs. Jockeys need to know the best way to ‘ask’ the horse to give an extra bit of energy to the race, from whipping the horse or a hand gesture with the reigns. For example, some horses don’t like the whip so simply showing it to them by waving it front of their eyes is enough to get them to move quicker. An example of this was Calvin Borel’s guidance of Mine That Bird that gave a great performance in the Kentucky Derby and rode to victory, yet just several weeks later he was criticized for moving too early in the Belmont Stakes and costing the win.