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Trainers match horses of different ability to see how they can cope against superior opposition in a racing environment. However, running on the gallops cannot replicate an actual race in which horses are running to the best of their ability.
The quality of a stable’s gallops will be reflected in results on the track. Trainers must find a balance between getting horses fit and not tiring them before a race.
Some horses perform better on the gallops than in races, but others are better on the track than at home.
Fitness is a major factor for a horse’s prospects. A fit horse can beat a bigger-rated horse who is not in the best physical condition, and some horses don’t need much training but others have to work hard to reach maximum fitness.
The gallops are used to test a horse and conditions should replicate a race as much as possible. Even though gallops are part of a training establishment they are not on private land so the public and press can watch horses on the gallops. Reporters can assess how good a horse can be from a gallop. If they know the other horse and its rating gallops journalists can identify a horse with potential. Stable staff also have that knowledge and some use it to place bets on horse that have impressed on the gallops.
The trainer usually observes gallops from a vehicle which travels alongside the horse on the gallops but far way so as to not scare the horse. When a young horse that has not run sparkles on the gallops there is plenty of betting for the debut. Information is key in betting and knowing the relative merits of two or more horses from gallop viewing will help punters to get better odds than what would be justified based on form and breeding.