What Does “Yielding” Mean In Horse Racing? 

 July 10, 2023

By  Philip Borrowman

In horse racing, "yielding" is a term used to describe the condition of the race track. It's one of the terms used to specify the firmness or softness of the turf course.

A yielding track is one step softer than "good", but not as soft as a "soft" or "heavy" track. It usually implies that a significant amount of water has been absorbed into the ground, but not enough to make it extremely soft.

This could be due to recent rain or watering of the track.

Track conditions can significantly impact the outcome of a race as some horses perform better on certain types of tracks.

Some horses might perform better on firmer ground, while others might prefer a softer or yielding track.

It's an important consideration when handicapping a race.

Understanding The "Going" Of A Race

Understanding the term "going" is fundamental before delving into more specific terms such as "yielding" because "going" provides the general context for these more precise descriptors.

The "going" is a broad term that describes the overall condition of a racecourse at any given moment. It provides a snapshot of the track's condition, which can be affected by a range of factors, including the weather, the amount of use the track has seen, and its maintenance.

Once you understand what "going" means, it becomes easier to grasp what specific descriptors like "yielding" imply. "Yielding", as a term, gives a more detailed understanding of the 'going' condition, providing vital information about the track's moisture content, its softness and how it may influence the race outcome.

Knowing these specific terms will allow you to better interpret racing forms, make informed betting decisions, and understand commentary and discussions about the races.

Here's a practical example to illustrate what "yielding" means in the context of horse racing:

Let's say you're studying the past performance of a horse named "Lightning Bolt" before placing a bet on an upcoming race.

You notice that Lightning Bolt has an impressive record of wins and places, but as you dig deeper into the details, you find that all the strong performances happened on "firm" or "good" track conditions.

Now, you check the weather forecast and the track conditions for the day of the upcoming race. There has been recent rain, and the track condition is described as "yielding".

Given Lightning Bolt's past performance, this might give you pause.

Even though Lightning Bolt is a strong horse, it hasn't been tested on a yielding track.

Therefore, you might choose to reconsider your bet or study other horses in the race who have performed well on "yielding" tracks before making your final decision.

This example illustrates how the "yielding" condition can potentially affect a race and why it's an important factor to consider when betting on horse races.

Other Track Conditions To Consider

Before delving into the list of track conditions in horse racing, it's important to note that there are multiple factors that can greatly impact the outcome of a race.

Aside from the horse's health, training, jockey skill, and racing strategy, one of the key elements that can significantly influence a horse's performance is the condition of the track.

The track conditions vary depending on the weather and the maintenance practices of the racecourse, and can range from very dry to very wet.

Each horse may perform differently on each type of track, making it a critical factor to consider when predicting the outcome of a horse race.

In the context of turf courses, there are specific terms used to describe these varying conditions, and understanding them is key to successful betting.

  1. Firm: This is the hardest condition of turf, which is often fast and has minimal give.
  2. Good: A bit softer than firm, good condition still allows for fast times but has some minor give.
  3. Good to Firm: This term is often used when the ground is somewhere between good and firm.
  4. Good to Soft: This term is used when the condition of the turf is somewhere in-between good and soft.
  5. Yielding: A turf course with a good deal of moisture. The turf will have a significant amount of give, but not as much as a "soft" track.
  6. Soft: A turf course with a lot of moisture that creates a noticeably slower running surface.
  7. Heavy: The softest and usually the slowest condition, a heavy turf course is extremely wet, sometimes to the point of creating muddy conditions.

Philip Borrowman


I am a full-time marketer and part-time Betfair trader. I have over 10 years of experience in the pre-race and in-play horse trading markets and spend my days writing guides, tips and tricks to help beginner Betfair traders find their way to a profitable second income. Read my story of trading on Betfair.

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