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Offline Arsenal

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O.P. « 2018-Dec-31, 08:16 PM »
https://www.racing.com/news/2018-12-31/news-leading-punters-weigh-in-on-track-debate

Leading punters weigh in on track debate
 
Matt Welsh@Themodernpunter


Several leading Victorian trainers have slammed the preparation of tracks in the state in recent days.
 
Darren Weir specifically referenced Caulfield on Boxing Day where two of his horses pulled up sore out of the Christmas Stakes. Weir stated, “The majority of problems come from tracks that are too hard. Everywhere. They have just got to put more water on the tracks”.
 
However, not everyone agrees that doctoring tracks to race in what Weir describes as the “dead” range is for the betterment of the sport.
 
As much as owners and trainers are integral to the sport, punters fund the industry and prizemoney. Several leading punters and form analysts have weighed in on the ‘firm track debate’.
 
Robbie Waterhouse is one of Australia’s most famous bookmakers and husband of training great, Gai Waterhouse.
 
Waterhouse is adamant that artificially watering tracks is bad for both turnover and horse welfare.
 
“With great respect and admiration for the likes of Darren Weir and Mick Price, from 2012 until yesterday Darren Weir scratches 13% of his runners on good tracks, 14.6% on slow and 17.25% on heavy, Mick Price scratches 14% on good tracks, 18% on slow tracks and 23% on heavy tracks.
 
“So, for what they say they prefer, it’s not shown by what they do with their runners,” Waterhouse said.
 
On the notion that horses are at greater risk on firm tracks Waterhouse states when inspecting stewards’ reports, “overwhelmingly horses mentioned as not handling the ground or having an issue were not on firm going.
 
“Secondly, I took out the figures over a five-year period of horses who had their last career starts and found that horses were more likely to have their last start on heavy than slow, slow than dead and dead than good. So, horses are more likely to end their careers having to race on rain affected going.
 
“20 years ago, my wife put down rubber matting in her stables but she got rid of it because she decided the horses were becoming soft. Aiden O’Brien who’s the leading trainer in the world, he put down rubber matting and again ripped it out as it was no good for the horses.”
 
Waterhouse affirmed that punters are far more inclined to bet on firm tracks.
 
“The betting turnover at every graduation (down from Good to Heavy) goes down.
 
“My turnover drops to half on heavy tracks. I talk to umpteen serious punters and they all say ‘I love to bet when the tracks are good’.
 
“I can’t see the argument in favour of making them wet tracks.
 
“Track bias was unknown in the 70’s and 80’s, it exists now because we over-water them and the tracks can’t stand up to it.”
 
A bug bear of punters is that artificial water is difficult to evenly distribute across tracks, Waterhouse noted "then rainfall is even, when you irrigate it if there’s any wind about it causes water to fall in different parts".
 
“One of the other problems with irrigation is the roots don’t go down," he said.
 
“If you give the roots water every second day, they only go down a tiny way. When they’re stressed the roots go down a long way and the grass is tough.”
 
Waterhouse suggested that one of the issues with racing in Australia is no one is quite sure of its purpose.
 
“If it’s purpose is to maximise money for participants, then obviously you’d have dry tracks all the time.
 
“If it’s to improve the breed then again you’d have dry tracks all the time, you want sound horses to be able to handle them.”
 
Asked if Darren Weir’s proposed track policy of starting on an artificially watered Dead 4 or 5 would affect his turnover Waterhouse replied, “I can tell you that I, and every professional punter, when the track is an artificially watered soft 5, the computer models, the algorithms make us turnover less money because the results are more random.
 
“If you want the best horses to win, you obviously don’t water the tracks.”
 
Waterhouse went on to question the current track rating system and reporting of track conditions.
 
“Nowadays the tracks are always given out as a Good 4 or Soft 5. Randwick on Saturday (December 29) was given out as a Good 4 but to be truthful I think Randwick was a Fast 1.
 
“The previous week Warwick Farm was described as being a Soft 5 but it was actually a Heavy 8.”
 
Waterhouse pondered what the trainers’ view would be if prizemoney in Australia was based solely on the turnover of a specific race.   
 
Calling on a trip he and Gai took to Agua Caliente, Waterhouse recalled there was no figure for prizemoney in the racebook. He quickly realized that the winning trainer received 6% of the wagering turnover, second 2%, third 1% and 4th ½%.
 
“If we had that in Australia, we’d have a tiny prizemoney of Weight For Age races, less money for Set Weights races and the trainers would be demanding all races were handicaps," he said.
 
“If prizemoney was based on turnover, you would not hear one word from these trainers about hard tracks."
 
Racing.com also spoke with leading form analyst Adam Blencowe of Racing And Sports. Blencowe stated, “it’s not for me to wade in to the debate around horse welfare or course management.
 
“But from a punter/analyst point-of-view good tracks are the ideal because the margin of error when assessing data/times/performance on good ground is smaller than on soft tracks which are much more volatile.
 
“Consistency leads to confidence. Confident opinions are what people bet on.”


Giddy Up :beer:

Offline nemisis

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« 2019-Jan-01, 12:54 PM Reply #1 »
Robbie Waterhouse seems to be the 'go to opinion man' every time the track surface debate is on.
His opinion has always been the same.

Robbie needs to read the steward's report from Makybe Diva Stakes day from Flemington this spring and let us know if he thinks that's acceptable or just 'part of racing'.

This was a track that wasn't watered in the expectation that there was rain around.

The Steward's report is a total embarrassment to the sport.

Grunt looked like a world beater that day and galloped like a crab in his next two starts.

I have a lot of sympathy for Udyta Clarke with her once in a lifetime galloper, Rich Charm who put in the worst run in his career that day.
Even his last start after a couple of months off was the run of a horse with problems.......coincidence?....maybe but I think probably not.

I remember when Almoonqith suffered his catastrophic injury in the Sydney Cup, David Hayes informed the stewards that the horse was being treated with a drug that 'countered the effects of galloping on firm tracks'......as if there could be any such thing.

Robbie will have to hope there are plenty of punters around that think the way he does because the industry will need their support.

Offline Dave

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« 2019-Jan-01, 09:40 PM Reply #2 »
I haven't commented on any subject on this forum for months, Good ole Pete was driving me mad with his insanity and he seemed to have taken over a good part of Racehorse talk with his gibberish however...........
This is a subject that I find of great interest, Rob Waterhouse without doubt has put the greatest case forward for Good to fast tracks, I wholeheartedly concur with his View....and always have.........
first point deals with Horses, When you continuously water tracks you in fact weaken horses legs.....there is a saying that goes ...."if you don't use it, you lose it"............when you don't use muscles they get flabby when you don't put pressure on bones that get weak........why Astronauts go into space their bones get weak, that is one of the major problems with space travel
When horses are continuously on soft footing nature adapts, they don't need strong bones, so nature doesn't give them strong bones.....as both Gai and Aiden O'Brien have found out..........Horses break down and "Jarr up" a lot more than they did back in the 60's and 70's..........Australian horses were the toughest in the world, cos they had to be....hence they took Aussie stock ponies to the western desert for the light horsemen, European Horses were too soft and weak........Australia is the driest Continent on the Planet(apart from Antarctica) you can't adapt Australia to the horses, the horses must adapt to Australia.....like they did for 200 years.........we race weak horses then breed from weak horses that have been lightly raced.......the result.....more weak horses!!............They grow fast and look big and strong but they aren't.....that is the way the Breeders like it........the more weak(boned) horses that they breed the quicker the turnover, the more horses they sell.....they ain't silly......
If they can't stand the heat.....get out of the Kitchen and stop breeding from them.........I really feel for the horses but if they aren't suitable for Australian conditions......should we be breeding from them??
Most breeds of animals try to weed out and weaknesses in the breed......The Thoroughbred industry is going the other way.....and they want to treat the symptoms and ignore the cause......I understand why Breeders love it.....a horse breaks down the owner needs a replacement.......They win......but the industry loses....again!
That is why we concentrate on sprint/baby racing.....cos they know they won't last long.....
That is the horse side of my point

Second point is about punting, I like punting on wet tracks......it gives me a huge edge....but....only when Nature decrees to make tracks wet.........watering tracks  and the bloody movable rail is a blight on racing/Punting.........they create track bias, you just can't water evenly, especially when you are trying to make a soft 5 track in the middle of summer, the drainage is so good that almost cyclonic conditions drain in a few hours on some tracks..........and the grass is cut so that it is a very long, it is just that it is laying down, it never dries underneath in winter when they water it...........
Punters are where all the money comes from, I realise they think we are stupid and just a necessary evil.....but like RW we ain't all as silly as they think, Turnover goes way down when Bias rares it's ugly head
Rob's figures on all the whingers that say they want wet tracks proves they are just that.....whingers!!.....they scratch more on wet tracks than they do on Good tracks, proving their opinions are based on BS.....and they can't deny that!

Offline nemisis

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« 2019-Jan-02, 08:53 AM Reply #3 »
The trainers are not asking for wet tracks they're asking that the current policy be altered over the hotter months.
Why can't you start on a 5 rated track if it means a kinder racing surface later in the day?

The racing industry needs to be seen to be serious when they state that the welfare of the animal is the first consideration.

Bryce Stanaway's interview on Racing.com yesterday was refreshingly honest on the subject and I agree with him.

Just to debunk any theories that horses where tougher in the 60's and 70's I will quote a couple of sentences from M Cavanough's book, The Melbourne Cup.

"The 1971 Melbourne Cup turned out to be the survival of the fittest. Five of the 21 runners broke down and another Spectre lost it's rider. Some of the injuries were caused by the flint-hard surface of the Flemington track, baked dry by the hot sun".

One of the horses that was led back to scale was in fact my first bet in the cup.....Skint Dip.
Almost certain he never raced again.

« Last Edit: 2019-Jan-02, 12:36 PM by nemisis »

Offline timw

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« 2019-Jan-02, 05:04 PM Reply #4 »
Just stumbled on this - perhaps it answers some questions - a copy is held by the British Library.

•   Title: HOOF ACCELERATIONS AND GROUND REACTION FORCES OF THOROUGHBRED RACEHORSES MEASURED ON DIRT, SYNTHETIC, AND TURF TRACK SURFACES
•   Author: Stover, S.M.; Setterbo, J.J.; Garcia-Nolen, T.C. Campbell, I.P.; Reese, J.L.; Wade, J.M.; Kim, S.Y.; Hubbard, M.
•   Found In: INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EQUINE LOCOMOTION; Equine locomotion; Cabourg, France, 2008; Jun, 2008, 43
•   Conference Title: INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON EQUINE LOCOMOTION
•   Publication Details: Maisons-Alfort, France; ICEL6 Conference Secretariat; 2008
•   Language: English
•   Publication Date: 2008

Cheers

Offline Gintara

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« 2019-Jan-03, 02:26 PM Reply #5 »
The trainers are not asking for wet tracks they're asking that the current policy be altered over the hotter months.
Why can't you start on a 5 rated track if it means a kinder racing surface later in the day?

The racing industry needs to be seen to be serious when they state that the welfare of the animal is the first consideration.



  emthup  Spot on Nemisis.

One has to wonder did a few of those waffling on actually listen or read what was said?

It's actually makes it harder if you put in a policy on where you need to be at a certain point.

Personally I'd put full control in the hands of the track manager to product a safe & healthy track.

Offline theJudge

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« 2019-Jan-03, 04:16 PM Reply #6 »
Couple of good points I've read today -
More artificial watering will create more track wear and tear, meaning tracks will take longer to repair.
This obviously in turn creates track bias & lanes etc.

If track managers are told to produce dead4 tracks for entirety of a meeting, then will they get additional time in between meetings?
Bigger tracks can continue to move out rail, but then field size limits become an issue.
It's a delicate balancing act

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Offline Gintara

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« 2019-Jan-05, 08:48 PM Reply #7 »
Couple of good points I've read today -
More artificial watering will create more track wear and tear, meaning tracks will take longer to repair.
This obviously in turn creates track bias & lanes etc.


More wear & tear? That's simply not true.

The moveable rail contributes more to bias & lanes than anything else.

Offline theJudge

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« 2019-Jan-05, 08:55 PM Reply #8 »
More wear & tear? That's simply not true.

The moveable rail contributes more to bias & lanes than anything else.
This is from a Melbourne track manager! Softer tracks, horses get into the surface more, up rooting the grass & soil profile

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Offline gunbower

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« 2019-Jan-05, 09:01 PM Reply #9 »
A long term rule which I have always followed. Never ever believe a statement given by a Waterhouse which is supposedly in the best interests of punters or the Industry. Most of us have better memories.

Offline Peter Mair

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« 2019-Jan-05, 09:08 PM Reply #10 »


................. agreement disregarded


I thought it had been agreed months ago that 'nothing should be done to the surface of a track' for weeks before a race meeting.

Today we are told the Caulfield track was aerated (and watered) this week.

What do RVL administrators and local track managers not understand about not presenting unfair tracks?


Online Jeunes

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« 2019-Jan-05, 09:36 PM Reply #11 »
Kensington today was a leader or inside  dominated card. You had to be near the lead to win today.

It was very similar to the last time they raced there too. Disappointing for some of the runners that race a bit off the pace.

The most interesting race was race 5 where the winner was bustled to lead over the favourite and normal leader who sat off the pace. No surprise to see how the race panned out.

Not sure what the reasons for the bias were but it was a motza for some jockeys or trainers who used their brains today.

Offline Gintara

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« 2019-Jan-06, 12:05 PM Reply #12 »
This is from a Melbourne track manager! Softer tracks, horses get into the surface more, up rooting the grass & soil profile

Sent from my ONEPLUS A5000 using Racehorse Talk mobile app

Softer or soft? there's a difference.

Watching this debate play out over the last few days I believe many are twisted up over what Weir (he started this) said. He didn't ask for soft tracks, just tracks with more give in them.

I consider soft as a track that has had significant rainfall.

Offline Gintara

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« 2019-Jan-06, 12:10 PM Reply #13 »
Kensington today was a leader or inside  dominated card. You had to be near the lead to win today.

It was very similar to the last time they raced there too. Disappointing for some of the runners that race a bit off the pace.

The most interesting race was race 5 where the winner was bustled to lead over the favourite and normal leader who sat off the pace. No surprise to see how the race panned out.

Not sure what the reasons for the bias were but it was a motza for some jockeys or trainers who used their brains today.

I was surprised to see The Art Of The Bar not leading considering how it raced at WF  :o  :shutup:

On the flip side after marking race 6 as a no bet I had a speculator on Samadoubt @ $11 on BF  :icecream: Swings & round-a-bouts I guess  :shrug:


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