Kembla Grange racecourse is known as one of the top provincial tracks south of Sydney. If you dig into the archives, it suggests that early race meetings in the area were run on what is now the Wollongong Golf Course in 1834. That was actually 26 years prior to racing beginning at Randwick.
However, the current location of Kembla Grange was purchased in the early 20th century and designed to be similar in size and shape to Randwick. The Illawarra Turf Club has been conducting racing at the venue since 1976, with the bulk of the racing taking place on Saturdays.
Stats You Need to Know
Of the jockeys it’s Tye Angland who has the most impressive record over the last 12 months. He is sitting at a winning strike rate of 26% from 42 starts. Koby Jennings is travelling nicely as well, winning at near on 21% from 62 starts.
From the trainers it’s Peter & Paul Snowden that are sitting on an impressive 29% win rate from 103 starts in the last 12 months. There are a number of other trainers sitting around 19% including, James Cummings, Jason Coyle and Gai Waterhouse.
Finding An Edge
Our NSW Racing Expert Mark Rhoden regularly bets into the races at Kembla Grange and believes there are a few things to look out for that can help you find an edge. In particular, it’s worth keeping an eye on the specialists that run regularly at Kembla as they seem to outperform the competition.
We asked him to share his thoughts on a few of the different facets that make Kembla Grange a good track to bet at.
Are there any nuances to Kembla Grange that you notice in your analysis?
Kembla is a spacious track with a long straight so is very different to the tighter tracks like Gosford and Wyong. A horse who takes time to wind up in his races will be much better suited at Kembla than some of those other tracks.
Kembla Grange is a major provincial track. Is there a specific way you like to analyse the provincials in comparison to metro venues?
In general, there’s a bit of definition between metro and provincial standard – and provincial and country standard – in NSW racing, so class shifts are very important. Those dropping back from metro grade are at a distinct advantage, while those stepping up from the country need to have produced figures well above the country average to compete.
Kembla Grange is apparently the exact same size and dimensions as Randwick. Can you use this in your analysis to get an edge?
Similar styles of horses can be suited at both tracks, definitely, although track patterns on the day sometimes make direct comparisons difficult. But in general, strong one pacers or stayers who need to build momentum will be suited at both tracks.
What sort of runner (pace wise) is most suited and why?
Run-on horses are better suited at Kembla than other tracks, but I would (almost) never prefer to be on a back marker than on-pacer, particularly if the tempo is moderate. But back markers are certainly less disadvantaged at Kembla than elsewhere.
Are there any jockeys or trainers that you really like at Kembla Grange and why?
As Kembla races on a lot of Saturdays, the “second division” jockeys can get their chance there, like Jeff Penza and Mitchell Bell. Winona Costin seems to have an affinity with the place too. As for the trainers, not really – the big metro stables all send horses there, and the biggest of the local trainers, Gwenda Markwell, has a lot of bad horses and a poor strike rate.
What sort of an impact does the weather have on Kembla Grange?
Kembla cops a fair bit of racing, and the fence can turn into a no-go zone quite easily. It’s also pretty exposed to the elements so high winds can be a factor also.
Are there any times of year that are best for betting at Kembla Grange?
I’d prefer to playing on a drier track at Kembla, it can be tricky with marked biases when it gets wet. In terms of quality, the feature meeting on the Friday in March stands out.
What tips would you give for your average punter betting at Kembla Grange?
Be prepared to give backmarkers and proven Kembla specialists a chance, and, as always, keep notes on rail positions, track conditions and any patterns you notice.