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What is Overweight? Overweight Explained in 2 minutes

What is Overweight?

Horses are allocated a weight to carry in a race. The weight is determined by comparing previous form in a handicap and based on age and sex allowances in other types of race.

Jockeys must carry the correct weight before a race and also the correct weight once the race has taken place. Sometimes jockeys are not able to do the weight so they carry more than the allocation. These variances are announced to the public because a few extra pounds could influence the result.

A horse ridden by a jockey carrying overweight is at a disadvantage so the trainer is not happy when the jockey riding one of the horses they trained must carry the overweight.

How Does Overweight fit into horse racing?

Horses of different ability can run in handicaps because weights are allocated – to in theory – give each horse an equal chance to win a race. A horse might be ahead of the handicapper when the horse has not been exposed and the handicapper has not reacted to a past effort.

In theory, every horse running in a handicap should cross the line together but that rarely happens. If the jockey is not able to make the weight the horse must carry overweight and in a competition that weight difference could be crucial. Jockeys have been known to try to lose weight in an extreme way to prevent having to carry overweight.

Horses burdened with more than their handicap market find it difficult to win races and that is why the trainer of a horse will be frustrated with any jockey who carries overweight. Even a couple of pounds can make the difference in close handicaps or races in which some of the runners receive an allowance.

Flat horses are given an allowance due to gender and age and there are also concessions for horses that have won a race at Group level.

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