Scone tops the list of favourite tracks

The Sportsman Weekend            13 Dec 2019        @NeilEvansmail NEIL EVANS


TWO more Saturdays before Santa weighs in and let’s reflect on the tracks that can make you most money.

Of course punters, big and small, all have their favourites and the wonderful game can never be an exact science but having scrutinised and absorbed every track in NSW, here is where I love to go.

Weighing up the primary factors – patterns, reliability, durability, recovery and most importantly fewer across-the board hard luck stories – here are my top five punting tracks in NSW:

  1. Scone, 2. Wagga, 3. Dubbo, 4. Canterbury, 5. Rosehill.

As you can see, the most common denominator is the long straight with Canterbury the only course with a shorter run home making the list, primarily because of its outstanding ability to play reasonably fair from good to heavy.

Scone’s biggest advantage is that lovely gradual sweeping turn from the 700m which means riders can exercise all important ‘cover’ for longer and horses remain more composed and tractable because the turn is far less abrupt.

The course, in my opinion, brings runners to their peak more often and it’s no surprise today’s special Christmas meeting drew a staggering 122 acceptors for the eight races.

Both Wagga and Dubbo have terrific long runs in but the turn is a little sharper and horses are more likely to lug off track. That said, particularly in Dubbo’s case, it does open up more accessible gaps for those buried away back on the inside.

Pattern reliability is the overwhelming factor. You could argue there are other metro, provincial and country layouts not too dissimilar but on many of those, the pattern can often be different from one meeting to next, even sometimes on the same rating.

Scone seemingly rewards superior horses and riders more often. This year’s outstanding Cup Dark Jewel Classic Carnival was testament to that.

On pure form depth and quality, with so many immediately going on to win blacktype races in Sydney and Brisbane, I still rate those two days in early May as the highest quality country-based racing at any time in Australia’s history.

As for the Big Smoke, yes Canterbury’s size means there are hard luck stories but the surface across the board is almost without peer.

Rosehill to me is superior to Randwick because of all round reliability – it can boast more days when the winners have come from front, middle and back.