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Course by Course Guide To Betting

Course by Course Guide To Betting
© Racing Post / Mark Cranham
Owen Goulding
Sunday 10th February 2019

Each course, whether it be flat or jumps, has different characteristics that make it unique. These qualities mean that each track has different variables to consider when betting on horses at the venue. We’ve gone in-depth with each track in the UK & Ireland, to give you a definitive guide on each, so you have all you need to know when you’re thinking of backing a runner at any of the tracks!

Bare in mind, these are just opinions, and the ground can have a big impact on how the pace sets up on the day.

Fairer Tracks

  • Beverley – R/H Turning, stiff finish. Better to be on the pace in sprints, can come from behind on the round course.
  • Chelmsford – L/H Polytrack. Generally fair track, though those close to the pace tend to be slightly favoured
  • Curragh – R/H galloping. Very fair track to all run styles
  • Doncaster – L/H galloping. Very fair track for both front-runners and hold up horses
  • Down Royal – R/H sharp undulating. Downhill early in the straight makes it hard for hold up horses in 5f sprints. Very fair on the round course and over jumps
  • Dundalk – L/H Very fair track for all
  • Exeter – R/H stiff/galloping. Very fair track, can win both from in front and behind
  • Fairyhouse – R/H Galloping in nature but only a short straight favours those on the front end on the flat. Very fair over jumps
  • Ffos Las – L/H galloping. Very fair track for all but where stamina is at a premium
  • Fontwell – Generally sharp (Chase figure of 8) stiff finish. Fair track for all run styles, though generally need a horse who travels well
  • Hamilton – R/H sharp but stiff finish. Fair track, front-runners can steal a march downhill early in the straight but get racing too soon and it falls into the lap of the closers
  • Haydock – L/H galloping but sharp bends. Front runners do well when ground is fast, hold up come into things more on soft.
  • Hexham – L/H, undulating with stiff uphill finish. Stamina at a premium as it’s a long way home from the bottom of the hill. Very fair track
  • Kempton – R/H flat A/W very fair, relatively long straight so horses can win from in front and behind. Turf also fair, sharp turns cam favour those handy when the ground is fast
  • Laytown – Straight beach course. No pace bias but the surface is very firm so suits fast ground horses
  • Leopardstown – L/H galloping. Very fair track. Not easy to make all but those closer to the pace favoured in big fields as the straight is relatively short
  • Leicester – R/H galloping. Long straight on round course so very fair. Straight track downhill early then uphill so can lure front-runners into going too fast
  • Naas – L/H stiff/galloping. Very fair track, though not easy to make up lots of ground when it gets deep
  • Navan – L/H stiff/galloping. Very fair, horses can win from any position
  • Newbury – L/H galloping. Very fair track, a long straight letting bigger horses get into their stride
  • Newcastle – Generally flat/galloping. Slight uphill run to the line. AW track very fair. Jumps races tend to go steady and turn into a sprint from the home turn so front-runners can be hard to contain
  • Newmarket – R/H galloping/undulating. July course has more front running winners with uphill line levelling off, Rowley Mile fair track
  • Nottingham – L/H galloping but sharp bends. Very fair track, tight home turn can allow those on the front to escape but a long straight is fine for long striding closers
  • Perth – R/H flat. Very fair, sharp nature helps front runners but similar to Kempton they get racing a long way out which helps those ridden with restraint
  • Punchestown – R/H galloping. Inner hurdles track is tight and favours front-runners. Outer hurdles and chase course very fair
  • Plumpton – L/H sharp but uphill to the line. Favours good jumpers ridden aggressively
  • Sligo – R/H sharp bends but uphill finish. Front runners do well if left alone but closers to well when there is a contested lead. Specialist track
  • Redcar – L/H long straights and sharp bends. Fair track can win with all types
  • Uttoxeter – L/H sharp. Front runners favoured when the track is quick but conditions get very deep so stamina is the most important consideration on soft
  • Yarmouth – L/H galloping sharp bends. Long straight makes it a fair track for all running styles
  • York – L/H galloping. Very fair track, though given the generally big fields, it’s not an easy place to make all

Tracks that favour pace horses

  • Aintree – L/H Fundamentally a speed track that favours handy strong travelling types.
  • Ascot – R/H Galloping track with uphill finish but short straight on round course favours those closer to the pace.
  • Ayr – L/H Galloping with some undulations. Downhill run into the straight favours front-runners on fast ground but hold up horses helped by soft
  • Ballinrobe – R/H sharp. Downhill to the straight and a short run-in favours those on the pace.
  • Bangor – L/H Sharp. Track suits handy types. Hard place for those off the bridle a long way from home.
  • Bath – L/H Sharp turns but uphill finish. Generally fast ground so front-runners hard to peg back if getting the fractions right
  • Bellewstown – L/H undulating and sharp but uphill for home. Well balanced prominent racers best suited
  • Brighton – L/H switchback. Very undulating so horses need to be well balanced, suits smaller types. Front runners can get away on downhill run on home turn but climb to line is steep. Favours course specialists
  • Brighton – L/H switchback. Very undulating so horses need to be well balanced, suits smaller types. Front runners can get away on downhill run on home turn but climb to line is steep. Favours specialists
  • Catterick – L/H sharp and undulating. Favours specialists, front-runners strongly favoured, they can get away on downhill run to the straight
  • Chester – L/H sharp. Tends to favour those on the pace but because of that sprints can fall apart with too many going too hard early to gain the perceived advantage.
  • Cork – R/H Flat/Galloping. Those on the pace tend to be favoured
  • Clonmel – R/H sharp. Downhill to the straight favours front-runners, especially on fast ground. Closers can get into things on soft ground but still better to sit handy
  • Downpatrick – R/H Very tight/undulating. Handy horses do best, track where course specialists do well
  • Epsom – L/H switchback. Suits well-balanced types, the camber tends to favour those closer to the pace, can be hard to come from behind unless switched wide down the middle.
  • Galway – R/H relatively sharp but long uphill climb to the line. Tends to favour those on the pace
  • Goodwood – R/H switchback. Front runners preferred as out of trouble, can be hard to make ground
  • Gowran – R/H Galloping/undulating track. Favours those closer to the pace as plenty of big fields to stay out of trouble.
  • Hereford – R/H Flat, relatively sharp. Short straight and tight bends favour a handy type but stamina important in depths of winter
  • Kilbeggan – R/H sharp with a short uphill run-in. Specialist track tends to favour well balanced prominent types
  • Killarney – L/H sharp. Straight slight curve left all the way so those on the pace favoured.
  • Limerick – R/H fairly galloping. Fast ground makes it easier for front runners. Slight downhill run into the straight but climb to the line catches them out on soft
  • Lingfield – L/H, Turf course undulating, steep downhill into the straight can allow front-runners to escape on fast ground. Handy runners who get into a rhythm preferred over jumps. A/W can be tough on the front, slingshot move from behind on the home turn wins plenty of races
  • Listowel – L/H sharp. Specialist track as it gets very deep. Need a horse to get into a rhythm, suits front runners on fast ground.
  • Ludlow – R/H sharp speed track favours those on the pace. Fences come up very quickly so accurate jumpers are preferred
  • Market Rasen – R/H sharp Speed track, those kicking on the slight downhill run to the straight are hard to peg back
  • Musselburgh – R/H sharp turns. Hard to come from the back, favours those on the pace, especially when it’s quick
  • Ripon – R/H, long straights with undulations. Smaller handy types on the speed heavily favoured
  • Roscommon – R/H sharp. Tends to favour those on the pace
  • Salisbury – R/H galloping track, uphill to line. Tends to favour those on the pace
  • Sandown – R/H galloping, uphill finish. Front runners do well both on flat and over jumps
  • Southwell – L/H AW long straight, favours those on the pace out of the kickback. Turf sharp track, handy types on the pace and strong travellers do best
  • Stratford – L/H sharp. Speed rules here, neat and tidy horses better than big heavy topped
  • Thirsk – L/H long straights sharp bends. Round course suits a balanced type with cambered home turn. Front runners can kick from the bend to win
  • Thurles – R/H undulating. Sharp bends, uphill down the back and downhill into the straight, front runners who time it right can get away late on
  • Tipperary – L/H relatively sharp. Favours those handy to the pace
  • Towcester – R/H sharp bends but very stiff. Suits those on the sharp end, ground very hard to claw back uphill on soft ground.
  • Tramore –  R/H sharp/undulating. Hard to make up ground off the pace when it’s quick. Produces specialists
  • Warwick – L/H relatively sharp. Speed track favours those on the pace. 5 chase fences down the back straight mean quick accurate jumpers do well
  • Wetherby – L/H flat and galloping in nature but strongly favours those up on the pace
  • Wincanton – R/H relatively sharp/flat. Bias to those on the pace, the fences come up quickly on the chase track so accurate jumpers come to the fore
  • Wolverhampton – L/H sharp turns. Short straight favours handy racers
  • Worcester – L/H galloping/flat. Fair track that favours those on the speed on quick ground
  • Wexford – L/H fairly sharp/undulating. Finish now uphill rather than downhill but run from the back straight is downhill so those on the pace can get away

Strong Travellers/Stamina Venue

  • Carlisle – R/H Stiff uphill finish. Strong stayer needed, no real pace bias, though races are often very steadily run
  • Cartmel – L/H sharp. Speed track so horse has to travel. On the speed helps but long run-in on chase course punishes those kicked for home too soon.
  • Cheltenham – L/H Galloping/stiff Old Course – Less testing, shorter run from the home turn, can steal races from off the turn. New course – Stiffer, can find those in front stopping more, especially in big field handicap hurdles.
  • Chepstow – L/H Undulating. Plays different depending on ground, stamina at a premium on soft but downhill finish favours prominent speedy horses on quick ground
  • Fakenham – L/H sharp. Despite its sharp nature, speed duals happen from a long way out and play into the hands of hold up horses
  • Huntingdon – R/H sharp flat track. Favours horses who travel well, smaller, nippy types
  • Kelso – L/H relatively sharp but uphill run for home. No strong pace bias but need to travel well but also have stamina reserves, especially on soft ground
  • Newton Abbot – L/H sharp. Strong travellers and those close to the pace strongly favoured
  • Pontefract – L/H stiff track but sharp bends. Stamina wins the day, can win from the front and from behind but have to stay the trip
  • Sedgefield – L/H sharp and undulating. Uphill to the line but downhill early in the straight and a short run in favours those close up on the turn for home
  • Taunton – R/H sharp. Downhill early in the straight so front-runners can steal away but the speed nature often means the taps turned on halfway down the back which makes if a long way home
  • Windsor – Figure of 8 sharp track. Long run from the home turn so although front-runners can get an easy few lengths kicking there, it’s a long way home for the closers to catch up

Terminology Explained

L/H = Left Handed
/H = Right Handed

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