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Track ratings are an important asset for punters

February 22, 2019 | By More

An understanding of track ratings is an essential element in the tool box of the serious punter.

In particular, the way that form is affected by the amount of moisture in the ground.

Heavy tracks undoubtedly narrow down the number of possible chances in a race as some horses are unable to perform in it.

It’s crucial to understand wet track form if you want to be a serious punter.

The wet weather scenario

It’s been raining persistently over the past week. The track is saturated despite state-of-the-art drainage systems. A heavy track is inevitable.

What precautions should we take?

For races like the Coolmore Classic at Rosehill, it’s important to be up-to-date with official track ratings.

The worst case scenario is when a downpour occurs in the middle of a race meeting, leading to a track downgrade.

In this case, quadrella bets in particular will be thrown into chaos as they were placed on the basis of a different set of track ratings.

There’s not much the punter can do in this situation.

It might be worth devising some type of staking plan to compensate for changes in conditions.

Also be aware of track bias as it can be accentuated in wet weather.

Official track ratings

Racing administrators in Australia introduced a new nation-wide track ratings on 1st December 2014.

It rates three different levels of Heavy going, from 8, where hooves will penetrate the ground, to a Heavy 10, which are very wet conditions.

Tracks worse than Heavy 10 will no doubt lead to cancellation of the meeting due to safety concerns.

It’s entirely probable that horses will handle the ground differently on these different surfaces.

The serious punter will be aware of the horses who can show dramatic changes in performance on different track conditions.

Jockey experience is a factor on wet tracks

Jockeys will also ride their horses differently on heavy ground.

As crazy as it sounds, there are also wet track jockeys who get the most out of their horses through rain-affected ground.

Jockeys will search for better ground out wide, or on the inside, and as such, barriers are of lesser importance.

They may also seek clear air on the outside to prevent the inevitable kick back of mud and slosh.

Look for horses on the speed as it will be difficult to swoop on the sloppy track.

Beware of recent form as horses who dislike one type of ground may be ready to perform on different footing. eg; going from soft ground to a bog track can result in dramatic form changes, and vice versa.

Although a controversial topic, some believe that wet track breeding can help identify a horse that appreciates heavy ground.

For heavy ground, I recommend watching race videos to determine whether horses appear comfortable on a wet surface. Watching videos is great punting advice.

“Swimmers” enjoy the going so much, they can dominate the race from start to finish.

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Category: Punting Advice