What We Look for When Buying a Two-year-old Horse

Traditionally buying a tried horse gives you a much higher chance to get to the races and more certainty in what you are spending your money on. However, we have many clients that also like to invest in babies and the thrill of unearthing a nice horse. It is commonly known in the industry that many young horses don’t make the track or win a race, so it is critical to select the right horse to give you your best chance. Furthermore, just because you spend a lot of money purchasing a young horse doesn’t always guarantee you a better success rate.

The first things to consider are:

  • Target races and distances
  • Where you want to race the horse, the city, provincial or the bush?
  • The budget you want to spend.

Some of our clients like sprinters and some of our clients like middle distance horses. We find that most people buying a two – year old are looking for sprinters and are looking for a quick return on their investment. However, we have also found that races over 1500m – 1600m especially in provincial areas are a lot of weaker than 1000m to 1400m races. Ideally, we are looking for a horse that can sprint early and get out to 1500m to 1600m when it gets older.

The first thing we look for are fundamental conformational traits such as a nice sloping shoulder, deep girth, width and depth through hips and strong hock and cannon bone. It is also important it is well – balanced and nicely proportioned horse. Then you need to consider if the horse looks like a sprinter or middle-distance horse.


What we look for in a Sprinter

A good sprinter will be big and muscular with a large rear end which the power comes from. We are also looking for a strong forearm, shoulder and chest. From this we are trying to gauge how much power the horse is capable of outputting.

It is also important to assess the horse’s shoulder angulation and its main engine room which is the hind quarters and hip length. We want to see sprinters with plenty of power behind but also in proportion to the rest of the horse.


What to look for in a Middle-Distance Horse

A middle-distance horse will look generally leaner, narrower in the chest, longer in the back, and have longer pasterns. They also have longer legs to lever and cover more ground which helps them maintain their stamina.



The Dam plays a massive part in selecting the horse as it contributes to 50% of the DNA. Most sires are good horses, so critically it is so important to assess the Dam closely. Firstly, we are looking for a mare that has been a winner and even better a city winner. Secondly, we are looking at what distances she won those races and if that suits what we are looking for. For example if the sire is a sprinter like a Fastnet Rock, Exceed and Excel or I am Invincible a dam that had good racing form over 1600m to 2000m could help throw a 2 year – old that could sprint but also have stamina to run 1600m.

Once you have accessed the Dam’s racing ability you now need to look at her progeny to date and what they have done. We want to see a mare that has thrown winners to date. If we are buying a filly, we also want to closely check her brothers and sisters form. This could enhance the value of the horse significantly as a future broodmare.

The Sire of the horse is also very important when selecting your horse. We are looking for a sire with a high percentage of winners to runners, but you also need to consider your budget as a horse like Fastnet Rock has a service fee of $165,000 alone. Sex Bias is also important certain sires can be prone to throwing better fillies or better colts. For example, Redoute’s Choice has a much better record with his fillies compared to his colts and geldings.


In summary I hope this gives you an insight on some of the processes we go through in selecting a horse at the sales. At Ares Racing Australia we try and purchase horses that give our clients their best chance of success and return on investment whether they are good tried horses or a two – year old.

If you are interested in what horses, we currently have available you can go to our page here

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