When you buy your Raceclubs Virtual Race Horse through the sales ring you'll have no idea of its ability. You might have a champion that'll win you thousands in prize money or you may have a donkey better suited to giving kiddie rides on a virtual Blackpool pleasure beach.
To find out just how good your virtual horse is you'll need to train it on the track.
On the Raceclubs site, select "Train" from the "Stable" option on the top menu.
Initially the fitness level of your virtual horse will be 50%. This will increase by between 2-5% each time you train it.
You train your horse against a barrier horse of average ability. You can train up to 6 times a day and can select different distance, track and going to run over.
You can choose to race against a different age and sex horse, but you're best off racing against a similar horse to the one you're training.
To assess the ability of your horse you'll want to adopt a systematic approach to training. It's best to just change one item at a time to see the effect it has on the performance. The way you judge performance is by the number of lengths your horse beats the barrier horse.
To start with you'll want to work out the distance that best suits your horse. It's a good idea to follow the same initial training pattern with each horse you buy, so that you can compare performances.
Select from the choice of 6 tracks. Start with the top one on the list "America".
Then select a distance. Start with a middle distance of "1800m".
Next choose the going, make sure you select one that corresponds with the type of track you've selected. e.g. if you selected a dirt track choose either Fast or Muddy.
Finally select the number of training races you wish to run with these settings. We suggest you select 1, so that you can change the settings for the other training runs. That way you can better assess your horses preferred conditions.
You have the choice to watch the time trial or simply view the result. When you've seen a number of them you'll probably want to skip straight to the result. As it's your first one, I'm sure you'll want to watch it, so keep the "Show Results" box unchecked and click on the "Run Time Trials" button.
Raceclubs offer a choice of viewer to watch the races and time trials. The standard viewer is the original one they had when the site first launched. It offers OK images, but the graphics are no way as good as the enhanced viewer, where the horses really come to life.
The enhanced viewer does require a higher spec of computer (in particular the graphics card). Most modern computers will have no problem displaying it, but if you have a really old PC you may have to settle for the standard viewer.
The following screen shots show you the difference between the two raceviewers and I think you'll agree you'll definitely want to use the enhanced viewer if it works with your computer.
Raceclubs Enhanced RaceViewer
Raceclubs Standard RaceViewer
After you've finished watching the time trial, switch back to the web page to view the result. It will tell you how far your horse finished in front or behind the barrier horse.
You can then return to the training page to select your second time trial. For this you'll want to keep all the details the same, but change the race distance to 1000m. Then for your third time trial change the distance to 2850m.
Time to give your horse a rest until tomorrow, when it'll be fit and raring to go for 6 more time trials. We'll cover this further in: