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How to pick a winning racehorse at Cheltenham Festival 2019

Horses at Cheltenham Festival. Credit: PA

A day at Cheltenham Racecourse wouldn’t be complete without a little flutter on the horses.

But choosing a winner, and leaving the racecourse richer than when you arrived, is no mean feat.

Somerset-based bloodstock agent Tom Malone knows a thing or two about horse racing - last year, one of his horses - Native River - won the Gold Cup.

Here, he reveals what to look for when picking a winning horse - beyond the horse’s name or colour of the jockey’s jersey.

Tom Malone is a former jockey turned bloodstock agent. Credit: PA

What I look for when picking a winning horse - Tom Malone

My name is Tom Malone and I’m a bloodstock agent based in Somerset. My job is to find the most talented racehorses to win the most prestigious races.

I have bought some top class racehorses which included the likes of Native River, who won the Gold Cup last year.

  • Outlook and athleticism

When I first see a horse - it's the horses outlook and athleticism that I look for. In the same way a pendulum on a clock swings, I look for that swing in the tail.

The more rhythmic the swing, the better they will jump because it shows their hips are moving properly.

Outlook and athleticism. Credit: ITV News West Country

They have to have a good strong pair of hips to show the strength is there. When at full speed, you need them to be able to stretch and gain more distance in the air from the opponents

This comes from the hips and the strength in the back end of the horse. The shoulders need to be at a rough 45 degree angle to show that the front end can also stretch out.

  • Hoof size

The size of their hooves is important – you don’t want them too small or too big and flat footed. In my opinion, the darker the hoof, the better because they seem to be the strongest.

The darker the hoof the better, according to Mr Malone. Credit: ITV News West Country
  • Bright eyes and ears pricked

A nice bright eyes and an ear pricked are also useful indicators that the horse has the right attitude. They have to look like they want to do it.

Size is also important – most of the previous Gold Cup winners have all had size and scope on their side. The taller and stronger the better.

You don't know how good a racehorse is until he's actually raced and he shown how much he wants it.