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a7. The Race!
Thu 02nd Sep 10 the big day is here - your horse is about to race. But what happens now?!

Firstly, in order to compete, your horse needs to:

  1. Have completed 3 hours of Race Preparation. This will be booked automatically when you enter a race. Be sure that nothing prevents this race preparation or else your horse will be scratched!; AND
  2. Be located at the correct racetrack prior to the start of race preparation. Check the horses' current location and schedule.

Assuming that your horse got to the track on time and has prepared for the race adequately, then it will be eligible to run.

Jockeys, too, need to make sure that they're located at the correct track prior to the race, however they don't need time to prepare or recover - they're quite happy to back up race after race if you need them to - as long as the race start times are more than 15 minutes apart - they need time to freshen up and maybe ponce around with the other jockeys between races! If you've assigned a jockey to a race and they can't make it, never fear, an apprentice will be on hand to take the ride (you may just regret that!)

At the start of the race, each horse is 'assessed' in terms of their condition, their stats, and their ability to race in the given race conditions. This is used to determine a few factors for the horses, which includes some measurements that can loosely be called 'Energy', 'Willpower' and 'Staying power'. The horse and jockey are also compared to determine how much the horse will 'resist' the jockey during the race

And there's the bell! The horses bolt out of the gate - their gate speed and acceleration and the instructions of their jockey and owners all playing an important part in the jump. From then on, it's all a matter of how well they can last the distance. How fast will they expend their energy? Can they continue to push on if they hit 'empty'? Are the horse and jockey suited to the conditions? Will the jockey time a run nicely to preserve the horse until it really counts? Will the jockey run the horse into the ground, or can they finish the race well and leave the horse in reasonable condition? All jockeys (besides apprentices!) use Artificial Intelligence to respond to the situations they find themselves in during a race, so keep a watchful eye - maybe this jockey isn't what you're after?

After the race, horse and jockey go their separate ways. Horses will find themselves a little depleted and out of condition, and will probably need the loving attention of a good vet or trainer (or a spell from racing) to get back into shape. At the end of the racing day, horses and jockeys alike will receive updates to their form, experience, and morale.

And at this point, a good owner takes time to assess the results. Check the Form Guide/Race Report for the race to see what the jockey and trainers thought of the performance. Check the quarterly times to try and decide where things went wrong (or right!) - was it a result of the jockeys skill, the horses abilities, the race conditions, strength of the field, badly planned race instructions, or a combination of all of these?! If you're a member of the Owners Club, (see Owners Club) then Race Vision might be a useful tool to get more detail on what happened. Race Vision is available to non-Owners Club members too, but may not be as 'pretty' as the one provided for Owners Club members.

Most importantly though, you've had a nice day out at the track and learned something about your horse and jockey. Or even better....maybe you won a big fat race purse!! Good luck!

Advanced Players - The Jockeys Brain, jockey instructions, and how it all works in a race

The Basic concepts

  • Each jockeys brain is composed of several different "riding considerations", sometimes referred to as "traits".
  • Each trait also has a "sensitivity" that goes with it, which determines how easy it is for a jockey to think that they need to act on a certain situation. For example, a jockey with a very low sensitivity for the trait "Concern for horse condition" will mean that the jockey doesn't feel the need to ease a horse until it is almost exhausted! However, if the sensitivity was very high, then the jockey will feel the need to act at the very first signs of horse fatigue.
  • For each individual Riding Consideration, the jockey has a matching set of "responses". In the previous example, if the jockey was worried about horse fatigued, then a valid response would be to ease the horse. A slightly less valid response would be to hold current speed, and an invalid response would be to accelerate.
  • In order to make their final decision, the jockey looks at the responses from every Riding Consideration, and picks a single course of action which best fits the entire situation as they perceive it.
  • Of course, the situation is complicated a little, because some jockeys are less accurate in the way they understand their horse and the race itself. this of course might lead them to make a less-than-perfect decision more often than a more "gifted" jockey.

Jockey Instructions

  • When you set a particular Riding Consideration as the most important, the jockey is effectively given a "second choice" to make....a "nagging conscience".
  • The jockey makes their decision as per normal, and then makes a second decision based entirely on the Riding Consideration you have told them to pay most attention to.
  • The jockey then uses their judgement - basically their "certainty" of their own decision versus their innate respect for you and your stable - to decide which action is the best to take.

A Race Example

Lets imagine a jockey with
  • a low-medium concern for horse condition;
  • a very high eagerness to lead;
  • a very high concern for the inside rail.

For the sake of this example, we'll ignore other considerations and only highlight a few points in the race, to give some basic insight into the jockeys thoughts.

Early in the race, the jockey gets a feel for the horse and decides that the horse is not fatigued. They check their race position and decide that it could do with improving. They also decide that they should be closer to the rail. All of these factors put together, the jockey decides it would be appropriate to accelerate and also drift towards the rail.

A little later, the horse is starting to show early signs of fatigue and the pair are sitting in second place and have an inside running. Analysing the situation, the jockey looks at the horse - but because the concern for horse condition is not met, there's no need to ease. However the very high eagerness to lead provides a clear response - accelerate. They're currently sitting on the rails and there's no need to "change lane", so the final decision is simply "accelerate".

Entering the home turn, the horse is becoming very tired, and although they've caught ground, they're still in 2nd place and on the rail. Because of being in second place, the jockey would dearly love to accelerate, however the horse condition is now low enough that the jockey is taking notice of that too. Conflicted - should they accelerate or ease? In this case, it happens that the jockey also has a race instruction from the owner that "eagerness to lead" is the top priority....and that decides it. Accelerate it the final choice.

Along the home straight, the horse is totally exhausted and being overtaken by other runners. The jockey is now becoming adamant that accelerating is necessary - the position is much worse than would be desirable. The concern for the horse condition pales in comparison. The jockey tries to accelerate and the horse tires even more quickly, and begins to drift wide as it begins to really ignore the jockey instructions.

Hitting the finish line The jockey is now totally pre-occupied with leading and also getting to the rail. The decision is to accelerate and move towards the inside lane, but the horse is unresponsive. The jockey finishes 5th, and probably could have managed that race a lot better.

As you can no doubt see, it's very hard to equip a jockey for every type of race, so it may be a tactic to slowly build a "library" of jockeys that you can use depending on the horse, the race, and the quality of the opposition.


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