New Zealand/track condition
hello sir, may i know how to judge the underfoot condition in horse racing? how do the track officials decide the condition?
Good morning Rohit,
I assume there are a variety of methods used around the world however I will explain how it is done in NZ and Australia.
A simple device consisting of a steel ball in a tube is the basic equipment. A track official places the tube (about 1 metre long) on the ground about 1 meter out from the running rail and drops the steel ball down the tube. There is a measuring scale on the side of the tube which measures how far the ball dents into the turf.
Depending on how far in it goes, a measurement of the track is recorded at that point.
Similar measurements are taken at regular intervals around the whole track in a grid pattern and the measurements are averaged and a measured against a set scale.
The official can then post a reliable track condition reading based on his measurements.
There are several ways of stating the measurements, ie, Hard and Fast, Easy, Soft, Heavy or as we do it, Good 1/3, Soft 4/5, Heavy 6/10.
You can then tell how accurate the readings are by the times the horses run in each race. You need to allow for track conditions to change during the day if there is continuing rain or a hot dry windy day which would dry the track a lot during the day.
Once again it is a system open to interpretation as it is not precise however over time you get to know who gets it right more often than not. Some race officials may try to get a better reading to attract more horses, particularly when the true readings are close to either end of the scale.
Hope this answers your question,
Regards and Happy Xmas,
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