What Is The Going In Horse Racing

What is the going in horse racing and how does it affect a thoroughbred's odds? Get the answer in our horse racing article!

going in horse race
What Is The Going In Horse Racing

Goings are essential in deciding a winning horse since this affects every selection's performance. Smart bettors always consider the goings to find valued bets on the track.

This article will explain what is going on in horse races and provide detail on each type.  

Horse Race Going Explained

Horse race going

Horse race going is a term used to describe the course's condition based on the amount of moisture on the ground. While it may seem tracks are only wet due to the weather, that is not the case for most tracks. Courses are watered manually to attain a specific going for specific races.

Horses run differently on specific goings. Most can go faster on dry tracks without exerting more energy in galloping toward the finish line. On the other hand, many horses will have difficulty going through soft tracks, which require more energy to push against the ground. Some trainers condition horses to perform better through specific tracks, making them the favorites over other selections.

A basic understanding of the going reports in horse racing gives you an advantage over other bettors during famous horse races such as the Grand National. You can find read the race cards efficiently when determining the true odds of each selection when you know what type of track is used for a race.

Types of Horse Races Going

Here are the different goings classifications for horse race courses.


Heavy race courses result from intense weather a day or two before a race. The ground is "heavily" drenched or full of water, likely due to a large amount of rainwater. This term comes from how the ground feels heavy on the horse's feet when they run through it. Heavy tracks require a significant amount of energy to run on those horses will quickly get exhausted.


Soft tracks have a significant amount of moisture, but not as much as you would see in a heavy going. This type of track usually results in heavy rains occurring three to four days before a match when the ground Unlike heavy goings, many horses prefer this type of track due to the soft ground. It is also the most common track during the National Hunt since it takes place during winter.

Good to Soft

Tracks with a going of "good to soft" have a significant amount of water that makes them wet and soft for horses to step on. This type of going is frequent during spring when the course is treated to a light shower a day or two before the race. Being "good to soft, " the ground can be soft for certain horses requiring a significant amount of energy to run the course.


Good goings have a slightly wet soil that is somewhat soft to the legs of any horse. However, the ground's dryness allows most horses to run at their optimal speed without exerting too much effort. This type of going is common in most races held in spring and autumn. Organizers will irrigate the track if needed to turn a firm course into a good one.

Good To Firm

The ground is slightly wet for tracks that are "good to firm," which is not a fond course for many horses. A good to firm going has enough moisture to provide a slightly soft ground, but there are dry spots that will impact the stamina of all thoroughbreds. The dry ground can negatively affect a horse's hooves' ability to absorb concussion and pass the force of their feet's impact on the soil to other parts of their body.


A firm track results from several dry days during spring and summer when the sun removes most of the soul's moisture. Dry tracks increase the stress and fatigue rate of all horses due to the hard soil. Horses are also prone to injuries if they step on uneven soil. Track workers tend to water the ground to make the course manageable for its participants. On the other hand, firm ground allows horses to kick the ground hard and propel forward with better speed.


Yielding is an exclusive going for Irish horse tracks, which is the same classification as "good to soft." This track has nearly the right amount of moisture on the soil, making them slightly soft to provide enough cushion for all horses. The cushion allows thoroughbreds to reserve their stamina and avoid any significant injuries.


A non-turf surface is used on an all-weather going that is made from either Polytrack, Tapeta, or Fibresand. Each of these is used on unique UK tracks in Newcastle, Wolverhampton, Kempton, and more. There are also particular races, such as the All-Weather Championships, that use in going. All-weather tracks are a way to address extreme weather that would cancel a race. In addition, this type of track is the safest one than other going.


Slow is another term used for soft goings, which indicates a significant amount of moisture on the ground. The name comes from how the track affects the horses' speed due to the soft ground.  


Standard is the same as a good going where only the ground has an optimal water balance. Most horses excel in a standard going and are less prone to injuries.


A fast track is a dry one exposed to extreme sun, likely to occur during summer. As the name indicates, horses can pull off their fastest possible performance on dry tracks. However, they are at risk of injuries.

Using The Going To Your Advantage

Information is always a valuable asset any bettor will have under their belt. This includes knowing the horses and their record on certain goings.

Professional bettors always look for valued bets or selections with the best price and acceptable risks when going through the starting prices. They will go through the background of each thoroughbred participating in the race, including their previous records. Their records can show you which goings a horse favors and which ones they have yet to attempt.

A going's favorability can significantly influence a thoroughbred's chances of winning. Some horses perform better on soft, firm, or even heavy goings, thanks to the training and conditioning provided. The same can be said for horses that have yet to race on certain tracks, such as an all-weather or heavy one. Horses just finding out how a soft track feels for the first time may peak out early during the race and fall behind.

When you consider every aspect of the participants in a race, you will know if the going will significantly influence the top performer's chance of winning. Remember that a horse's capabilities can still trump its opponent's favorability on specific goings. If you have horse A consistently in the top three against horse B, who runs at its best in soft tracks, horse A can beat horse B even if the ground favors the latter. On the other hand, a performing thoroughbred on a track they favor is likely to take the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place.

Having a basic understanding of the going and knowing a horse's favorability for a specific track are just parts of the research when looking for the best selection to bet on. Putting effort into researching selection is how you can get rich through horse race betting.

This article was published on November 14, 2022, and last updated on November 10, 2022.