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By Garry Robinson

Using our database we investigated the runs of all last start winners at the four Melbourne Courses Moonee Valley, Sandown, Flemington and Caulfield. For those who don’t know, these courses each have their own peculiarities.

Moonee Valley
Is a saucer shaped course with a Strathayr surface and well banked turns with a very short straight. The unique surface means that even horses which don’t normally handle the wet may do well here as the surface is well drained and heavy track conditions are virtually unknown. You won’t ever see a fast track posted here either. Those factors aside, there is definitely a group of gallopers that save their best for here and here only. To make matters more interesting, there is also night racing here and that introduces another factor.

Is more oval shaped and its main features are the banked turns. The VATC has made a commitment to water down the track surface so that it is never better than good, although, this Spring there were some exceptionally fast times recorded. There does also appear to be a large number of horses that don’t handle the track.

Is one of Australia’s best racetracks with a consistent surface and long stretches. The one inconsistent feature is the straight 1000, 1100 and 1200 metre courses. Quite often a significant group of horses will go to the outside rail and there can be a lot of difference with one group or other being obviously favoured. The problem is you will never know this until after the race.

Has its own unique feature and this is the long uphill straight and before the turn a steady downhill. The Melbourne Cup winner Rogan Josh is just one horse that didn’t handle the downhill bit and ended up being left behind when they got to the post. Nevertheless, horses that win at Sandown, almost always go on to perform well at other tracks.

Let’s look firstly at Sandown winners:
Sandown winners that had their next start at either Caulfield or Moonee Valley won only 12% of their next starts.
Sandown winners that had their next run at Flemington or Sandown, however, won 16% of their races.
Flemington winners that next raced at Caulfield or Moonee Valley won 16% of their races.
Flemington winners that started next at Flemington or Sandown won 17% of their races.
Caulfield winners that next raced at Caulfield or Moonee Valley won 16% of their races.
Caulfield winners that next raced at Flemington or Sandown only won 13% of their races.
Moonee Valley winners whose next start was at Caulfield or Moonee Valley won 16% of those next start but look at this. Only 13% were able to win at Caulfield but 18% won when next raced at Moonee Valley.

This is a statistic that is unique to these Valley to Valley runners.

Moonee Valley winners that next raced at Flemington or Sandown won only 12% of those future races.

The message is clear. Moonee Valley is the most unique racetrack in Melbourne and whilst plenty of horses do race well at Caulfield, a lesser percentage win at the harder Flemington and Sandown courses after wins at the Valley.

Sandown is also a unique course with its uphill and downhill sections. Strangely enough, Sandown winners don’t perform too well at the relatively easier Caulfield and Moonee Valley tracks but are more than equal to the task coming back to Sandown or onwards to Flemington.

Punters betting on Melbourne races would do well to take note of these very interesting statistics which were gathered over several racing seasons.

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