The following is a quick guide to help you to better understand the main differences between Australian racing and the rest of the world.
If you bet on horse number 1, don't go looking for it to start from the inside gate. There is just as much chance that it could be drawn in post 16. In Australian races, the field is assembled in order of weight. The horse carrying saddlecloth number 1 always will have been assigned top weight or equal top weight. If there are 24 horses in a race, the horse carrying saddlecloth number 24 always will have been assigned the minimum or co-minimum (set-weight races notwithstanding). Once the horses are assembled in order of weight, the draw for post position takes place.
This will prove the biggest initial challenge to players here, primarily because of the differences in the way races are written. Because there are very few claiming races in Australia, many races are designated for horses which have won the same number of races. Most horses start out in maiden races. When they win, most will then come back in a Class 1 handicap, which means non-winners of two races lifetime . The best pointer to use when handicapping an Australian race - given that many races in the past performance lines will read Hcp (Handicap) or Mdn (Maiden) - is to note the value (purse) of the race or the track class. All Australian tracks simulcasted are designated a "track class" of either (in order of quality) Metropolitan
, or Country
. These designations can be found in the official past performances lines next to the track name as (m
), or (c
Watching a Race
The style of Australian racing is more European than American. First, all races are on the turf. Racing is conducted both clockwise and counter-clockwise depending on the region of the country. A good trip plays an even greater part in the outcome of a race in Australia than it does here. There are several reasons for this - primarily, the larger fields, slower initial pace and tighter racing. When handicapping, pay attention to starting points and layouts of each track.
The length of the stretch and tightness of the turns can differ greatly between tracks and have a definite impact on race tactics and outcome. The player looking to identify a track bias will have to do it on a day-to-day basis. Unlike tracks in other parts of the world, it is very rare for a racetrack to race on consecutive days.
Because of the larger average fields, there are now 24 betting interests available. Rarely will you see a field of 24 go to the post, the Emirates Melbourne Cup (GI) is an example of a race that allows for 24 runners. A few times a week, there will be races that allow for 20+ runners, one can usually find these on Tuesday/Friday nights where we feature racing from the top level metropolitan tracks in and around the major cities.
When watching the races, saddlecloth numbers can sometimes be difficult to see. It is best to identify your horse of interest by the color of the jockey's silks. These colors are available in the program right above the past performance lines. As a bettor you will also find that races from Australia can take quite a bit longer to go official. Due to international simulcast regulations a more comprehensive review and verification process of the results is required before official payouts are made.