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At The Course - 5 of 5
Once saddled the horse is led into the parade ring itself, generally horses start arriving in the parade ring about 20 mins before the scheduled start time of the race. Most horses are in the parade ring 10-15 mins before the race. There are some occasions when a horse doesn’t parade, usually when a horse is highly strung, however even if a horse doesn’t actually parade in the ring it must pass through the ring.
The parade ring is the chance for punters to inspect the horses prior to the race. The ability to judge a horse in the paddock can greatly enhance your chances of finding a winner.
The key things to look for are the horses general condition. It should have a shiny coat. You should be able to see the horses ribs, if you can’t it’s possibly overweight and said to be carrying condition. The horse should have a strong rear end with the muscles clearly visible. Negative signs are horses being on their toes, i.e. pulling away from their groom and bouncing about. If it isn’t a particularly hot day and a horse is sweating a lot, especially between the hind legs or under the saddle then be wary. Be wary also if the horse is making a lot of noise or whinnying, especially with younger horses.
About five minutes before the horses are due to leave the paddock the jockeys will come out to the parade ring and meet with connections of the horse. Connections are generally the owner(s) and the trainer and at this point jockeys will receive any last minute riding instructions.
Eventually there will either be an announcement over the public address saying ‘jockeys please mount’ or a bell will ring in the parade ring. When this happens the jockeys will get onboard their horses and after another circuit or two of the parade ring they will start making their way onto the racecourse itself.
Now is the time to place your bet.