Best way to win a horse race? Experts claim to have found the answer after years studying Usain Bolt

EXPERTS have claimed to have found the best way to win a horse race – after years studying Usain Bolt.

Amandine Aftalion has been analysing the performances of Olympic level sprinters such as Jamaican sprint king Bolt since 2013.

She has turned her findings from the 100m world record holder to the racecourse in an effort to determine how horses use up energy in races.


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Aftalion, who studies at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences in Paris, teamed up with fellow brainbox Quentin Mercier to produce the paper.

And they concluded that, for a short race, horses should start fast but save enough energy for a final burst of speed.

Writing in their study 'Optimal speed for thoroughbred horse racing', the pair concluded: "We see that horses have to start strongly and reach a maximal velocity.

"The velocity decreases in the bends.

"When going out of the bend, the horse can speed up again and our model can quantify exactly how and when.

"Horses that have a tendency to slow down too much at the end of the race should put less force at the beginning and slow down slightly through the whole race in order to have the ability to maintain velocity at the end."

The pair claim their model can set a template for jockeys and trainers, showing them 'how horses have to regulate their speed and effort on a given distance'.

And it should allow a trainer to figure out exactly what distance race a horse should be entered into.

For example, the study says short-distance runners perform best when they burst out of the gate and gradually slow down towards the winning post.

But in medium distance runs, the horses who do best start strong, settle, then finish with a strong burst.

Aftalion and Mercier used a GPS tracking device placed in the saddles of jockeys racing in France to give them real-time speed and position data.

They studied short, medium and slightly longer races all with different starting points on the same track.

The findings, published in Plos One journal, could surprise jockeys.

Often, horses are held at the back of the group in anticipation of a late surge.

The findings said a strong start can lead to a strong finish – but going too hard too early can leave a horse 'exhausted'.


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