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A weight cloth is a special saddle cloth with pockets to carry pieces of lead to ensure that a horse is carrying the correct weight for a race. Different amounts of weight will be carried depending on the race and the other runners and riders.
Jockeys are required to be weighed in before a race and weighed out after it has finished to ensure that the correct weights have been applied. This must include all the weight the horse carries so the weight cloth is carried onto the scales as well.
The system of weights in horse racing is very important as it ensures that the races are fair. There are also races for certain types of horses and adding weight cloths to the saddle means that there is potentially more chance for any of the horses to be victorious.
About half the races run in the UK are handicap races. This means that the horses are allocated a particular amount of weight to be carried to equalise the chances of the horse winning. In theory if the handicapper does his job correctly the race should finish with all horses crossing the line at the same time.
Once a horse has run in three races it is given a handicap mark and can be included in handicaps. The amount of weight is revised on a weekly basis depending on how the horse performs. The skill for bettors is predicting which horse will overcome its weight handicap.
The Grand National is probably the most famous handicap race in the world. It is a steeplechase with a purse of £1m.