Finding An Edge At The Track: Hawkesbury

What do you need to know about the Sydney track

Hawkesbury racecourse NSW racing Mark Rhoden

Hawksbury is home to some of the best provincial racing in NSW. Situated only an hour out of Sydney, it can provide some excellent opportunities for those who are willing to put in the work.

Hawkesbury has been in operation for 150 years after the racing pioneers in the area ‘fashioned’ a racetrack out of 200 acres of bushland in 1865. The inaugural races were held there in 1871 and have been there regularly since that day.

Set against the backdrop of the Blue Mountains, the track features 25 race meetings per year and is one of the top spots for provincial racing.

Stats To Know

Some of the jockeys here have some really high strike rates. Brenton Avdulla is winning 35% of his races in the last 12 months, while Joshua Parr is currently around 29% over the same period.

In terms of the trainers, James Cummings has an incredible 40% strike rate over the previous 12 months. Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott are in second place with a strike rate of 30%. Pretty impressive numbers.

How To Get An Edge

The provincials can often be overlooked but our NSW racing expert Mark Rhoden is a big fan. Especially at Hawkesbury, where you can quickly stack the odds in your favour if you’re prepared to dive into some of the numbers and understand the difference between the local runners and the out-of-towners.

We asked him some of the key questions about the best way to bet at Hawkesbury.

Are there any nuances to Hawkesbury that you notice in your analysis?

The main factor is the advantage home-track runners have there. Home-track advantage exists everywhere to some extent, but there are certain horses and stables that are real Hawkesbury specialists and must be considered there, regardless of their performances at other tracks.

Hawkesbury is a major provincial track in NSW. How do betting into provincials differ in your analysis to metro racing?

The fundamentals are the same, but you have to be more open to the possibility that horses will improve sharply on their exposed form, particularly in maidens etc. At midweek provincial meetings, the metropolitan standard jockeys who go to ride there have a significant edge over their country rivals and this must be factored in.

How does the Hawkesbury surface differ to NSW metro tracks and does it benefit certain runners?

They do tend to get wide at Hawkesbury if the track is at all rain affected – not necessarily swoopers but the fence does turn into a no-go zone especially late in the day on softer going.

What sort of runner (pace wise) is most suited and why?

In most cases, I’d prefer to be with on-pacers. There’s a decent enough run home in the straight but the home turn is quite sharp and there’s no real camber to assist the runners-on (on dry tracks).

Are there any jockeys or trainers that you really like at Hawkesbury and why?

In the trainers ranks, the locals. Scott Singleton and Garry White’s runners are always worth extra attention at home. I like the better metro-standard riders such as Angland, Clark, Avdulla, Shinn etc. when they get to Hawkesbury on a Thursday.

What sort of an impact does the weather have on Hawkesbury?

Soft = fence off, as mentioned above

The metro venues handle the big races in NSW. Are there times of year when Hawkesbury offers some good betting opportunities?

Absolutely. I tend to go quite well at Hawkesbury and always like to do the form on a solid provincial card there. The feature meeting there each April or May can be tricky but is always a good standard.

What tips would you give for your average punter betting at Hawkesbury?

A lot of people have a prejudice against Hawkesbury due to the (admittedly terrible) camera position at the track which can make racing there hard to watch at times. I’d advise people to remember that the camera angle doesn’t actually affect the result (although I’d give in-play betting a big miss!)