The going refers to the condition of the ground which is assessed before racing. The optimum going is good because that suits most horses. Soft and firm going are the next two extremes which come before yielding and hard.
The state of the ground is dependent on the amount of rainfall and how well a track drains. Some tracks can take heavy rain and still present good going while others may have much less rainfall but still report soft going. The underfoot conditions are a key element of assessing a race and identifying potential winners and those to dismiss.
Horse racing was traditionally run on turf but many tracks around the world have artificial surfaces. The purpose of All-Weather racing run on sand and dirt is to ensure there is some racing when turf meetings are abandoned. Ice and snow and water logging are the reasons why a turf meeting does not go ahead.
The ground on All-Weather tracks does not vary a great deal and at most meetings the going is declared as standard. That is the equivalent of good going on grass tracks.
If there are no extremes of rainfall or temperature the going will be good. Horses tend to struggle on extremes of going due to physical attributes and running style, whereas good going suits most horses and is the most desirable ground.
Betting markets will not react to the state of the ground when it is described as good, but horses proven on soft or firm going will be backed when their favoured conditions apply.
Good going is neutral and will not have a major impact on the outcome of a race. If there is an appreciable change in the going before and during racing trainers are allowed to withdraw horses on the basis of the ground.
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