Help Turf – Basic Horse Racing Information

Welcome to Turf Racing!

Turf racing is the most popular form of horse racing in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe.

If you are new to horse racing and want to find out all the basics then you have landed on the right place!

Let’s start with the very basics…

What is Turf Racing?

Turf racing is the most popular form of horse racing in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe. It involves the track condition for grass tracks often referred to as the ‘going.’

This typically reflects how firm the ground is and the official racing in the UK and Ireland is measured by a penetrometer. Sports betters will normally look at the going of the track before picking their winner on the race, with certain horses taking a liking to specific surfaces and vice-versa.

A penetrometer does exactly what it says; it measures how much force is needed to penetrate the ground, also known as a ‘going stick’. Very dry ground is normally deemed hard, dry ground is firm, slightly moist ground is good or good to firm, wet ground is soft or good to soft and a very wet course is called heavy.

As mentioned briefly, this is the most common track type in Europe, but it is also common in many other temperate climates. Provided that there is a good balance of rain and sun through the year, turf is the ideal surface to run races on.

How track surfaces impact horse handicappingTurf provides a cushioned surface to horses to land on- dependent on the going, of course. That makes it perfect for both flat and jump racing. It is also a fast surface with maximum fractional properties for quick take off following landing.

Conditions for the turf are directly related to the type of racing and have defined the flat and jump racing seasons in Europe for hundreds of years.

Flat racing is run over the summer months when turf tracks are generally firmer, and this suits the high speed thorough bred racing has to offer. Over the winter month in Europe, racing switches to the jump season with the generally softer ground more suited for the impacts of hurdles and steeplechases.

The most notable race of this type is the Grand National during the Aintree Festival in Liverpool.

While grass has many benefits for racing it is also the most variable of all surfaces with entirely different outcomes depending on whether the ground is hard or soft.

Weather Conditions and Horse Racing

Understanding the weather and ground conditions along with what suits individual horses and jockeys is important and most-know knowledge for experienced punters. It is very hard for horses to go flat out for long periods on grass so in general, on turf courses the strategy is to sprint in the stretches and save energy or to jostle for position in other places.

Synthetic tracks provide more predictable condition, which in theory levels the playing field. This also reduces the falls and injuries of both the jockey and the horse, relative to turf.

Then again, many argue this only plays into the bookmakers hands with less variation in the races to effect results, meaning those tips with higher prices are less likely to sustain that threat with the better and shorter priced horses.

Flat racing is the most common form of Thoroughbred racing in the world

Whatever happens in the future, turf will continue to be the main ground type for racing in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe, especially for traditional race meetings.

It is highly doubtful that you will ever see a Cheltenham Gold Cup, Grand National, Epsom Derby or St Leger held on a synthetic race course.

Although, it is becoming more and more common for these courses to feature both turf and synthetic tracks alongside each other, allowing them to feature a wider range of racing and races to be held throughout the year for different occasions. Meanwhile, in the US it is now even common to see grass and synthetic tracks alongside their traditional dirt circuits.

Horse Racing and Betting

Betting on horse racing is very common and very popular especially in the UK. All bookmakers have options for betting in various horse races. However the popularity of horse racing has also led to other gambling games like casino to offer horse racing related games like horse racing themed slot games. If you are interested to bet on horse racing, themed slot games or even live casino games then you can visit where you can find reliable and fully licensed bookmakers and casinos.