As with athletes, a horse needs to be in peak condition to perform to its full potential.
A trainer brings his / her horse to peak condition using a combination of training, trials and actual racing, with the characteristics of the individual horse and style of the trainer dictating the preparation adopted.
After holding its peak condition for a number of runs, a horse will begin to tire both physically and mentally from the rigours of racing / training and may need to be sent for a break or spell. Some horses can handle long preparations with many starts, while others can only peak for a few runs before they begin to taper off. It depends on confirmation, constitution and overall wellness. Trainers also have preferences; some get their horses very fit early in a preparation, while other steadily build their horses with racing and they typically peak after a number of runs.
A horse’s fitness should be considered an important element in your assessment of each race and the following guidelines will help keep you on the right path.