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 Moonee Valley Racecourse in Melbourne.
These days, Moonee Valley Racecourse is probably most well-known as the first venue in Australia to conduct night racing. The Valley hosts over 30 meetings every year and is a favourite for punters on Friday nights.
Moonee Valley’s first race meeting was held on 15 September 1883 at John F. Feehan’s farm. The property was bought with the intention of creating a racetrack by William Samuel Cox, who the famous Cox Plate is now named after. Cox served as the inaugural Secretary of the Moonee Valley Racing Club.
The Cox Plate is now Australia’s weight-for-age championship and has seen famous winners such as Phar Lap, Better Loosen Up, Northerly, Makybe Diva and four-time winner Winx..
The actual track itself is a rectangular shape and notable for its sharp turns and small circumference, with the racecourse wedged into a confined residential area. This layout is generally said to favour front runners while making rail position extremely important, as the track gets tighter and tighter as the rail is pushed out. All in all, it makes for great viewing for the punters.
The Moonee Valley Racing Club is in the process of finalising plans for a major redevelopment of the track and surrounding facilities, which will involve a total reconfiguration of the track. The project isn’t due to start until 2024 however… the old girl has a few years left in her yet!
Moonee Valley Racecourse: Finding An Edge
We sat down with our Melbourne Racing Analyst Trevor Lawson to find out how to get an edge at the Valley.
Are there any nuances to Moonee Valley Racecourse that you notice in your analysis?
Rail position plays a big part. Normally, the further out the rail is, the more on-pace the bias can be.
Moonee Valley is the home of night racing in Melbourne. How do conditions at night change the way the track plays?
Sometimes it appears those that get well back in the field can lose touch.
How does the Moonee Valley surface differ to other Victorian tracks and does it benefit certain runners?
The track is a StrathAyr surface, made up of sand and grass. This gives the track a little more give than a normal grass track.
I know some professional punters avoid Moonee Valley at all costs. What are your thoughts on betting there?
I’m not sure why, I personally think it is a great track to bet at. The bias is generally easy to predict prior to the meeting.
What sort of runner (pace-wise) is most suited and why?
As a general rule those up on the pace. Wide runners can be favoured when track is rain affected and the rail is true… the inside can get chopped up.
Are there any jockeys or trainers that you really like at Moonee Valley and why?
There tends to be minor variances up or down, so I don’t really use it as a factor unless it’s obvious.
What sort of an impact does the weather have on Moonee Valley?
Significant rain when the rail is true can affect those that race close to the rail. That’s definitely something to keep an eye out for.
Caulfield and Flemington handle most of the big races in Victoria. Is there a time of year when Moonee Valley offers some good betting opportunities?
They generally race at night over the summer. These meetings tend to provide plenty of betting opportunities and are typically of a similar standard to mid-week metros – with the exception of the Group 1 feature nights such as the Moir Stakes, Manikato Stakes and William Reid Stakes – these are high-quality events.
What tips would you give for your average punter betting at Moonee Valley?
Once the rail is out by two metres or more, make sure you focus on horses that race up on the pace. If the rail is true and the track is rain affected, try and avoid horses drawn to inside barriers. There’s obviously a heap of factors in any indivudual race, but track-wise they are the two major things you should be wary of.
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