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A Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Racehorse


This month sees the arrival of the much-anticipated Tattersalls October Sales, where some of the most desirable yearlings in Europe are put under the hammer and many buyers set about the task of buying a racehorse.

The world of thoroughbred horseracing is a complicated one, even by professional standards, so what about us mere mortals?

The fact of the matter is that there is no formula for choosing a future champion. A horse picked up for a bargain could go on to enjoy great success, and equally, a horse that seems to tick every box could never win a race. However, there are a few things that the experts look out for that make for a good starting point.

So, what are some of the most successful racehorse owners in the world looking for at the Tattersalls October Sales? Find out below with our beginner’s guide to buying a racehorse:

1. Heritage

The horse’s bloodline is a hugely important factor dictating its desirability. If the horse is from good stock, coming from a sire with an impressive racing record, there is a much higher chance for it also to see success.

This will obviously attract higher interest (and usually a higher price). However, do bear in mind that a successful stallion does not always produce successful offspring, so do some research!

2. Physical Appearance

Anyone can look at a horse and say that it’s good looking, after all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder! But there are a number of specific characteristics that the experts look out for.

The overall bone structure of the horse affects it’s entire movement. It should be in good proportion, with a short, strong back, and straight, strong legs that are set squarely in line with the shoulders and rear end.

All of a racehorse’s speed comes from the huge amount of powerful muscle in its rear end and shoulders, so muscle tone plays a large part. Look out for powerful shoulders over strong forearms and a thick, muscular chest. The rear should be muscular and toned.

A horse’s coat can say a lot about it’s general wellbeing. A sleek, shimmering coat shows that the horse is in peak condition.

A horse’s face is also a key indicator. It should have bright eyes and wide nostrils, with its ears pointing forward showing that it is alert and aware.

3. Stride

Pay attention to the horse’s stride. If it moves with elegance and grace around the parade ring, even at a walk, it shows great potential at higher speeds. Look out for even, confident steps and good straight legs without any twisting when it walks.

4. Temperament

Finally, how is the horse acting? A racehorse’s demeanour is very important – it should be calm and composed, but alert when in the parade ring. If the horse is not calm at this stage, when it comes to race day, it may expend too much energy through stress in the paddock or even worse the pressure of the race may become too much.

The above is just the beginning! If you want a true insight, then book yourself a place on our Tattersalls Tour where our expert guide will give you all the advice you need right there in the middle of all the excitement!

This tour is extremely popular, so make sure you book now or you will miss out! Click here for more information, or call us on: 0344 748 9200