The parade ring at a racecourse is a gold mine of information. The parade usually takes place 15-20 minutes prior to the start of the race. If you're on-course then it's essential that you check out the horses at the parade and pre parade.
The parade gives you the best chance of getting up close to the horses you're interested in backing. This is your chance to spot any potential positive or negative factors that may have a bearing on how the horses will run. Savvy punters will always check out the horses at the parade!
But what exactly should you be looking for? Well, our parade ring tips will give you a few pointers to watch out for.
Sweaty Betty: It's not uncommon to see a horse sweating up before a race, especially on a hot summers day. Don't worry too much about patches of sweat on the horses neck, but stay away from a horse that's dripping in sweat! It's known as ‘Boiling Over'. Just like humans, horses sweat excessively when nervous, overwhelmed or generally unwell. Excessive sweating is a bad signal.
Glossy Coat: Just like dogs, horses with glossy coat are seen to be in very good condition. It's like a human having good clear skin! So look for those signs, compare one horses coat with another in the parade ring. Horses will look good when they feel good.
Heads Up: A horses head can tell you a lot, and not just in a mafia sense! Look at the horses in the parade ring, which horses have their heads up, looking around? and which horses are looking at the floor? Like football players, horses are prone to sulky moods. A horse with it's head down can be a bad sign.
Coltish Behaviour: In human terms ‘Coltish Behaviour' would be like a typical teenagers behaviour, examples would be the horse getting over excited in more ways than one, generally messing around, giving the stable girl a tough time etc. It normally shows a horses mind is somewhere else other than the racecourse. Bad Sign!
Everyone has an opinion about horses in the parade ring, some like a horse that's a little bit excited, others look for calm steady types.