horse racing going explained

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In this article I will explain what the term ‘going' means in horse racing.

‘What is the going' is a term you will hear every day in horse racing. So what does it actually mean?

It is basically a description of the underfoot conditions at a racecourse. As you would probably expect, the going at a particular racecourse is very dependent on the weather.

The going is measured by the course clerk and is very much determined by how much moisture is in the ground at the time of inspection.

So what are the different types of going in horse racing?


Firm ground is normally found in summer time and is normally when the surface is very dry. Drier surfaces tend to see horses running faster and recording faster race times. We tend to see this type of ground mostly during the flat season during summer, but of course, it's still weather-dependent.

Good to firm

It is slightly slower than firm ground but still a quick enough surface. If there is no rain forecast, and you tend to see race course staff watering the track if it is more on the firm side.


Good ground is probably the most common type of ground and tends to offer a fair chance to all horses who go to post. It is probably the easiest type of ground for a horse to run on. Race courses prefer their course to be good ground as it often attracts bigger fields of runners. It is trickier, though, from a punting point of view if you end up with a 24-runner field.

Good to soft

Normally found in the autumn/winter months, it is basically mostly good ground but is holding a decent bit of water.


This surface tends to be much harder for horses to run on. The ground is much deeper, and horses run much slower. Some horses prefer this going and will run exclusively on soft ground.


A real test of a racehorse’s stamina and only very few horses relish this type of ground. It is often very wet and hard to run on as the water soaks into the ground. You will also see some trainers withdraw their horses from running on this type of ground due to how demanding it is.

So why is this an important factor in horse racing for a punter?

Knowing the going is important for a punter, as most horses will handle various types of ground. So, when analysing the market, it's worth noting which horses handle the ground, which is forecast the day they are due to run.

For example, if the ground is described as heavy it is worth looking through the market to see which horses have form on that particular type of ground before placing your bet.

Related Topics: Racing Tips Aintree

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