Study: New Zealand Racehorses More Likely to Finish Races

Researchers believe they’re honing in on why these horses are more likely to finish races than those in other countries.

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Results from a recent study suggest that Thoroughbred racehorses in New Zealand have a higher likelihood of finishing a race than their counterparts in other countries, and researchers believe they’re honing in on why.

“Compared to international rates, our rates of catastrophic injury appear to be lower,” said Charlotte Bolwell, BSc, MSc, PhD, a lecturer in equine studies at Massey University, in Palmerston North, New Zealand. “However, no other studies have considered race completion rate, or failure to finish rate, so direct comparison with other countries is difficult.”

Bolwell and colleagues recently took a closer look at records from 188,615 race starts over the course of six flat racing seasons. They identified several factors that could contribute to New Zealand’s low failure to finish rates (i.e., more horses finishing races), including the country’s racing schedule and the consistency of the racetrack environment.

The racing schedule allows time for trainers to rest or “freshen-up” horses without losing opportunities to run them in the desired grade or race type, Bolwell said

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Written by:

Katie Navarra has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. A lifelong horse lover, she owns and enjoys competing a dun Quarter Horse mare.

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