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 Caulfield Racecourse in Melbourne.
Caulfield Racecourse, the home of the Melbourne Racing Club, is one of Australia’s most well-known and loved tracks.
The first races held at Caulfield were in 1859. In those days jockeys rode through the bush, sand hills and heath, which is where the nickname ‘The Heath’ comes from.
Caulfield hosts some of the biggest Group 1 races in the country, including those that are part of the Caulfield Cup Carnival. The Carnival boasts three days of racing and includes the Caulfield Guineas, Blue Sapphire Stakes Day and of course, the Caulfield Cup itself.
The course is lush and green and can often be on the softer side. This tends to lend itself to runners that can stick to the inside and those up on the pace. The further out the rail gets, the more of an advantage those on the pace end up with.
With its sharp turns, a rising back straight and short home straight, it provides plenty of good racing all year round.
Caulfield Racecourse: Getting An Edge With A Pro-Punter
Trevor Lawson heads up the Melbourne Ratings membership for Champion Bets. He’s regularly betting into the races at Caulfield. We spoke to him to get some insights on the best way for punters to look at the track conditions and weather when approaching Caulfield.
Caulfield features sharp turns and patchy weather. Are there any nuances to Caulfield that you notice in your analysis?
As a general rule, on-pace runners are favoured due to Caulfield being a bit of tighter track compared to say, Flemington.
It has been suggested that Caulfield plays a bit on the softer side as a general rule. Would you agree with that and how does it impact runners?
Caulfield generally plays fairly firm. The club understands that punters want to bet on genuine good tracks and therefore produce those sort of tracks. I would suggest turnover is good at Caulfield.
What sort of runner, pace-wise, is most suited and why?
Because of the nuance of the track, horses are on a turn for a lot longer. The closer you are to the rail, the less extra ground you have to travel. Therefore on-pace runners are the most suited. And that’s the case for most tracks, certainly in Melbourne.
Are there any jockeys or trainers that you really like at Caulfield and why?
Like Flemington, with the metro prizemoney so good, anyone with a nice horse targets their races. With jockeys, they all tend to have their runs of ins and outs.
What sort of an impact does the weather have on Caulfield?
The wind has a big impact. Winds from the north and west are either into their face down the side (from around the 900-metre mark to the 500m) or into their face in the straight. Southerly winds are behind them down the side, which tends to suit on-pacers. Wind definitely plays a part at Caulfield, and punters should make sure they’re across the conditions before a meeting.
Do the big racing carnivals, like the three-day Caulfield Cup Carnival, make for improved betting at Caulfield?
Yes in that they are generally for the better class horses which by nature tend to be consistent. Horses from interstate make the puzzle a bigger harder for the average punter. And the arrival of overseas horses for the Spring Carnival has made that harder again. So there can be a bit of value to be found for those prepared to delve into form studiously, and who have solid ratings for all horses.
What tips would you give for your average punter betting at Caulfield?
Like Flemington, check the wind! Definitely target on-pacers in southerly winds. Northerly winds can hinder those up on the pace without cover. Backmarkers as a general rule have poor records at Caulfield, so tread carefully with them.
Punt like a pro with Trevor Lawson’s Melbourne Ratings.
As well as a full set of rated prices, speed maps and suggested bets, you can spend each and every raceday with a pro punter: the Melbourne Ratings Live Page gives you direct access to Trev himself to ask whatever you like.
If you're keen to win, it’s the only way to punt.