Southwell Course Guide. A track which hosts jump racing through the summer and all-weather racing the rest of the year, including under floodlights as of 2019, Southwell sees a lot of action. It's a specialists' track under both codes, and leading jockey David Probert offers some thoughts on riding the flat course.
David Probert says: “Southwell is a unique all-weather track, mainly because of the deep fibresand surface they have there. Generally it pays to be aggressive and go forward from the outset. It's a real horses for courses track, not many horses act around there, and the ones that do seem to do very well.
I tend to think you need a horse with a lot of speed and one capable of winning over a furlong further than it's racing over. If you want to take your time around Southwell, you're probably better off conceding a few lengths on the bends and down the back straight to stay out of the kickback, which is fierce. The wide trip is compensated by the inside generally riding quite slow, so you're not losing as much ground as logically it might seem like.
The kickback is pretty tough. When I'm riding there I carry a pair of stockings and wear one as a mask. And three pairs of goggles!
The five furlong straight track doesn't seem to have a positional bias left to right. Instead I think if anything it's a pace bias, but usually it's simply the fittest, quickest horse wins on the day.
I don't think I've ever ridden a horse there which has travelled from the start to the finish. You're either flat out to get and keep the lead, or you're flat out playing catch up.
I prefer being drawn outside, especially if I have one that needs to take a lead off something. I'd rather be three or four horses wide than on the rail, and just stay out of the kickback as much as possible. It's so thick sometimes it's almost like being behind a gritter. Trying to get your horse to breathe is the main thing. Plenty of them can't handle the kickback and it interferes with the pattern of their breathing.
At longer trips there's more of an even gallop. Obviously it's hard to maintain a frenetic tempo for a longer period of time, so races tend to be run a bit more sensibly and with more consistent results. I've had a bit of luck at Southwell actually, especially at longer trips."
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