50 best excuses why a racehorse didn’t win its race

Dr Desmond Morris says that when a racehorse loses a race the trainer and the jockey have to find fancy reasons as to why it happened other than the fact that the horse is not a fast runner in order to ensure that the horse’s owner retains the trainer and pays his monthly fee which is very high. A horse has to win an inordinate number of races in order to justify the amount it costs to look after and train them.

50 excuses why a horse didn't win a race in order to convince the owner to keep paying stabling and trainers fees

50 excuses why a horse didn’t win a race in order to convince the owner to keep paying stabling and trainers fees. Image by Andreas Iken from Pixabay


Here are the 50 best excuses:

The horse:

  1. swallowed it’s tongue;
  2. stepped in a rabbit-hole on the far side of the track;
  3. was hit by a flying divot;
  4. swallowed a flying divot;
  5. disliked the tight bends;
  6. was stung by an insect down at the start;
  7. was distracted by a television van;
  8. did not like the rain;
  9. had an abscess in his mouth;
  10. had a sore foot;
  11. did not want to go past the racecourse stables;
  12. suffered from a muscle spasm;
  13. did not like the high winds;
  14. was lazy or was not keen enough or was too keen;
  15. was bumped during the race;
  16. was kicked during the race;
  17. disliked the slow pace or disliked the fast pace;
  18. jumped too carefully or over-jumped;
  19. felt crowded in the large field of runners;
  20. missed the competition in the very small field of runners;
  21. did not act on the hard going/did not act on the soft going;
  22. hated the left-handed track or hated the right-handed track;
  23. was under-worked or was over-worked;
  24. would improve over a shorter distance or needs a longer distance;
  25. missed the start and then had too much to do;
  26. was stuck in the face of a rival jockey’s whip;
  27. was too inexperienced or too experienced;
  28. bolted on the way to the start or bolted at the off;
  29. was hemmed in and could not find a gap;
  30. travelled badly during the long journey to the racetrack;
  31. suffered from exhaust fumes inside the horsebox;
  32. had been upset by fireworks near the stables the night before;
  33. lost a plate;
  34. had come into season;
  35. hit the front too soon or needs to be a front runner;
  36. was off its feed;
  37. needed the run-out;
  38. should not be whipped or needs stronger handling;
  39. needs castrating;
  40. may have a low blood count.


The horse’s:

  1. champion sire did not reach peak form until he was much older;
  2. saddle was slipping or was too tight and was pinching;
  3. girth-strap broke.


The jockey:

  1. thought there was another lap or thought there wasn’t another lap;
  2. mistakenly thought something was wrong and pulled the horse up;
  3. dropped his whip;
  4. mistook the last furlong post for the winning-posed and eased off;
  5. was kicked during the race.


  1. The handicapper had been too severe and the horse was carrying too much weight;
  2. The stable has a virus.

One apprentice jockey was asked to explain why he had ridden the horse so badly. He said that, “the governor told me in no circumstances was I to finish in the first six.”

Source: Sporting Life via Horsewatching by Dr Desmond Morris.


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