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What To Look For In The Parade Ring

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Matt: We're around the paddock with Andy Ayes here. Now, Andy, we're at the races, we're stood in the paddock, the horses are walking around, what are we looking for?

Andy: Okay Matt, I think the first thing to look for is the horse's wellbeing.

Matt: Right.

Andy: Okay, general wellbeing. So for that, we want to look at the horse's coat, it is the easiest way of working it out.

Matt: What about this one here?

Andy: This horse here looks well in his coat doesn't he? He's gotta nice shiny bright coat, no pimples or blemishes on him, he looks well. That's kinda what we're looking for. That type of horse as opposed to one that looks dry and dull in his coat, which is a sign that they're not really at a peak and they want a bit more time.

Matt: Okay what else are we looking for? if we look at the -

Andy: Temperament Matt, I think temperament is something that's important, you don't wanna see a horse walking around sweating or grinding his teeth or looking nervous because obviously, it's a sign of stress. And they'd be running a race before the race if you know what I mean?  So you wanna horse walking round, ears pricked. Horsehair looks a bit dull in its coat you see, the 9 horse. But -  

Matt: So when you say dull in it's, dull in its coat -

Andy: There's no shine on his coat is there? He looks dull doesn't he, looks like he's just a  little bit backward, you know a little bit behind.  Whereas the horse we saw earlier, looked really nice and bright.

Matt: So compared to the one we've got round here, the 8, looks much better in its coat.

Andy: Yeh absolutely, yeh it does to me, doesn't it to you?

Matt: Yeh it does, yeh.

Andy: Yeh, its common sense really isn't it, its nothing really too er complicated really, I think it's overcomplicated often to be honest. So, yeh, but temperament wise, you just wanna see a horse walking round with his ears nice and pricked. Taking an interest in what's going on around him, but not being worried.  That's the key really.

Matt: So basically, its, I guess its sometimes like us, where we can wake up in the morning, we look in the mirror and you think, oh my skin doesn't. You know when you're eating, when you're eating right, you're skin looks better and it's the same with horses.

Andy: Absolutely right, I honestly think people overcomplicate it and generally it's just common sense really. Erm, fitness is the third thing of course and that's the hardest thing to gauge because they're all different makes and shapes and sizes aren't they, and body types, so that's much more difficult to work out. But generally, you want a horse with a nice big well-muscled backend because that's their engine, that's where all the work, that's the power. Erm -

Matt: So what about 7 here, this looks to me like it probably needs a bit more time?

Andy: Exactly, the horse behind him looks the opposite doesn't he? He looks really fit the 3, he looks, the 3 horse looks really revved up, looks like he's going down early. So he's probably quite a keen type of horse, and a keen type of horse that tends to get itself fit anyway you know.  

Matt: So why would a horse go down early, compared to the others that are staying longer?

Andy: Because his horse probably pulls a bit hard, in company. So if there's other horses going down with him it'll probably rev it up and he'll pull too hard. So he'll go down on his own, nice and quietly. Perhaps even walk down before the other jockeys have got on. So yeh it's just a way of you know keeping a horse nice and calm and keeping a lid on him so that when you know the stalls open, he's got plenty of gas in the tank, as we say that he's whipped round.  But -

Matt: It's a negative though isn't it?

Andy: Yeh it is a negative. All the signs of like sweating, grinding their teeth, all of those things are negatives, and all signs of stress and tension which obviously you don't wanna see.

Matt: So if there's an Andy Ayes top 3 things to look at round the paddock, what are they?

Andy: It would be a horse to be nice and relaxed in the preling, to look nice and fit, in terms of as I say well muscled up behind the saddle, and to go down nice and collected, I think its really important to watch horses go to post, I'd say its almost the most important thing for me, because if they don't act on the ground they can't win the race you know. The ground plays a massive, massive factor. Erm, so if you've got a horse with a light skimming action, you want quick ground like we've got today. If you've got a horse with a big poundy action, you'll want softer ground. So it's really important to watch the horses go to post. I think that's probably the, one of the most important factors for me personally.  

Matt: Right, now what we're gonna do here is because you're sponsoring this race, around the paddock with Andy Ayes, we're gonna look out for the best turned out. Now, this is I guess slightly something a little bit different. Where I guess you're looking to see the -

Andy: With the best turned out, it wouldn't be looking at the best-looking horses, its where the groom's done the most work really for me. Say, you take this horse here, shes bothered to plait the horse's mane, so he looks really nice. If they'd plaited the mane and the tail that would have been even better. Let's give it to the 10, because we said the 10 had a nice -

Matt: Okay, the 10 won, so why are you giving best turned out to the 10?

Andy: Shes plaited, she's plaited, the horses main hasn't she, the horse looks really well in itself. I think shes probably put a lot of effort in getting the horse ready for the race. Yeh, I'd say it looks really well.

Matt: And its a big deal for these stable staff isn't it, coming here. There's a £50, £50 is being given by value rater for today.

Andy: It is, it is, they've worked tremendously hard and yeh they don't get the recognition they deserve really.

          

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