What are the different types of going in horse racing, and what does it mean?

What does ‘going’ mean in horse racing and what are the different types? Paddy Power explains all…

Paddy Power horse racing betting guide on going


The going in horse racing is a term many new punters may be unfamiliar with. But don’t worry because Paddy Power is here to explain what it’s all about!

If you’ve ever heard a race commentator talk about the ‘going’, or seen it written down on a race card in the Paddy Power racing sportsbook, then you might wonder ‘what is this jargon?’.

Well, the ‘going’ is actually a vitally important metric for trainers, jockeys and punters to gauge conditions before the start of a race. It relates to the firmness of the ground the horses run on, and offers a quick indication of where a race might be won and lost.

There are six main different types of going in horse racing. So let’s take a look at each one, starting with the softest…



When the ground is sodden with rainwater it is described as ‘heavy’. These conditions are difficult for horses to run in and those with stamina will likely fare better here.


A likely condition of National Hunt meets during the winter season when the ground is wet and soil reasonably saturated. Some horses love running on soft ground, while others labour with the conditions beneath them.

Good to Soft

The ground is by no means dry but is firming up after a few days without rain at the course. On a sunny day at Cheltenham this is perfect racing conditions.


Having well-irrigated soil means a racecourse will be able to produce good conditions on an average race day. There is less moisture in the ground and horses generally run freer. Most horses are adept at running on good ground.

Good to Firm

A dry spell in autumn and spring may produce a good to firm ground that favours sprinters. However, if the ground gets too firm then the staff will likely add water to soften it up.


Flat racing during the summer often encounters firm ground, which is why jumps aren’t used at this time of year. Here the sun can bake the ground and, while it rarely turns to dust, it requires watering from staff.

Paddy power going betting guide for horse racing

The going is usually good when horses run in the summer months (GETTY)


Knowing what the going is could be crucial when horse racing betting in the Paddy Power sportsbook. After all, if you know the conditions of a race are perfect for a particular horse, then you may decide to back that runner.

Every race at Paddy Power features details of the going. You’ll see it next to the class of the race on the front page of the race card. The going may also describe the course as having area-specific conditions, such as ‘good in places’ or ‘firm in places’.

Paddy Power horse racing odds and going

The Paddy Power horse racing odds show the going (in red)

You can also see ‘more information’ on each horse running while racing betting to access stats on their past results and what the going was like during those races.

If a horse appears to struggle on a slow surface and today’s going is slow, then it may be worth avoiding them.

What’s more, if you’re new to horse racing and want to brush up your knowledge before big events such as the Cheltenham Festival, be sure to check back to Paddy Power in the spring for the latest updates from the racecourse.

Paddy Power horse racing odds, form and going

Paddy Power shows the horse’s form and the going at past races


Discover more in Paddy’s Demystifying Racing series…


What do you think?