Scone tops the list of favourite tracks

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - @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-the­board 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.

Back at Rand­wick to­mor­row for a strong Group 2 Villers day, with three Listed sup­port races, the luck can fi­nally turn for big strid­ing Scone-based fin­isher Bob­bing.

I doubt there’s been a more luck­less run­ner over the last cou­ple of months, not least in the Group 3 Fes­ti­val Stakes a fort­night back, although it comes with the ter­ri­tory when you launch from so far back.

With plenty of pres­sure on up­front over the Vil­liers mile, and down on 53kg from a low draw with top hoop Rob­bie Dolan aboard, Bob­bing presents se­ri­ously over the odds.

Here are my best rated value se­lec­tions for Rand­wick:

Race 3 3. HIGH BRIDGE Ex­pect: $4.50 My Rat­ing: $3.05

7 14. BOB­BING $9.50 Rat­ing: $4.85

Race 3. EL DO­RADO DREAM­ING Ex­pect: $8.50 My Rat­ing: $5.00

Race 8 13. OUR WIN­NIE Ex­pect: $21.00 My Rat­ing: $8.50

Good Luck

El Do­rado Dream­ing.

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