Our Finding An Edge At The Track series looks at some of Australia’s best racetracks and asks our pro punters for any tips when betting on them. Today, we check out Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne.
Randwick Racecourse is New South Wales racing ‘headquarters’ and is around five kilometres from the Sydney CBD. Racing in the city’s early decades took place a few kilometres north, in Hyde Park. In 1833 the Governor designated the Randwick site for horse racing. Racing continued at Randwick until 1840, when the track became a training-only venue. In the early 1860s, the land was granted to the Australian Jockey Club (AJC), which moved its headquarters there. Race meetings resumed at Randwick shortly after, and have continued ever since!
The racecourse officially became ‘Royal Randwick’ in 1992 when Queen Elizabeth visited. She opened the Paddock Grandstand and gave permission for the ‘Royal’ certification to be added to the name.
The track itself is the largest in NSW and gives most runners a fair chance depending on the rail position, however punters need to be aware of a few nuances which we’ll discuss below.
In 2013 a smaller, inner track was opened to allow for more racing at the venue. To distinguish from the Randwick course proper, this track is named ‘Kensington’ after the neighboring suburb that was formerly home to a pony racecourse, which closed in 1942.
The Championships, the dual-meeting highlight of the Sydney autumn racing carnival, is held at Randwick over consecutive Saturdays in April. The Championships is a major racing and social event and boasts eight Group 1 races: the ATC Sires Produce, the ATC Derby, the Doncaster Handicap, the TJ Smith Stakes, the ATC Oaks, the Queen Of The Turf, the Sydney Cup and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
In spring, Randwick is the home of Australia’s richest race, The Everest.
Finding An Edge At Randwick Racecourse
Champions Bets NSW analyst Mark Rhoden has been consistently finding winners at Randwick for a number of years. He thinks there’s a few things the punters should know before they placing their next bet at Randwick…
All racetracks have their quirks. Are there any nuances to Randwick that you notice in your analysis?
The most obvious thing to note about Randwick is its size. It’s a roomy track with a good run-in that is, in a sense, the “fairest” Sydney metropolitan track. I would rarely argue that back markers are “advantaged” but on a fair track at Randwick, they’re better placed than at most other courses.
It’s been suggested that Randwick plays a bit differently based on rail position. What are your thoughts on how that impacts runners and punters?
Rail position, combined with track condition, has an effect anywhere and Randwick is no different. Broadly speaking, the further out the rail is, the harder it is to make ground from back in the field, but the track and weather play a part in that too (and whether you want to be near the fence).
The general consensus is to bet on runners that like to sit up on the pace. What sort of runner (pace wise) is most suited at Randwick?
At most recent Randwick meetings the tempo, track condition and occasionally wind have been more important factors in determining the best spot to be pace-wise rather than the track itself – which is a good thing.
What sort of an impact does the weather have on Randwick?
The course proper doesn’t seem to drain particularly well so any significant rain will ensure the track is pretty wet. This, in years gone by, tended to make it a “race to the outside fence” to get to the best ground. But since some maintenance work that’s no longer always the case, thankfully. If there’s a strong southerly wind at Randwick, leading becomes a big advantage. This is particularly in sprints – it’s right behind them in the chute down the side of the track.
Do the big racing carnivals make for improved betting at Randwick?
The big meetings at Randwick are the general public’s favourite betting medium in NSW, so the pools and holds are always strong. The potential downside comes with racing on the track in a few consecutive weeks, particularly if it’s wet – but fortunately, that seems to be less of a problem of late than in years gone by.
What tips would you give for your average punter betting at Randwick?
Randwick probably has less tricks than a lot of other courses, but I’d give the same advice I’d give for all tracks – if you can keep and build a record of rail positions and track conditions and make a note of any patterns and advantages you perceive, under those circumstances, you’ll be giving yourself a great head start over a lot of the market when you come to do your form.