Track Bias – How Does It Work?

Sporting Post Mailbag - Geoff Logan asks...

Track bias is something that has always puzzled me. Why does this phenomenon even exists?

In theory, and I reckon we have top racecourse caretakers, the surfaces should surely be 100% equal?

Reader Geoff Logan writes in the Sporting Post Mailbag that most tracks have a preferred side of the course.

The preference for Hollywoodbets Kenilworth up the straight is the inside, while Hollywoodbets Scottsville up the straight is the inside, Fairview Turf up the straight is the inside, Turffontein up the straight is the outside.

I am not sure about the Vaal?

Hollywoodbets Greyville doesn’t have a straight and is probably the fairest surface over the final 400m.

Turffontein is also very fair on both the courses run around the bend, over the final few hundred metres, as is Fairview on both surfaces around the bend .

Chase Liebenberg took this Hollywoodbets Kenilworth image

Races at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth around the bend generally have an inside preference, not as much as in the sprint races though, unless the wind is blowing and then the riders all duck to the outside – but they are generally pretty fair.

Why I raise the topic is that we have seen some remarkable incidents lately of horses losing races because of bunching, as all the jockeys are trying to get to the best galloping surface. The scrimmaging can be downright dangerous and lead to many hard luck stories.

The scrimmaging at Hollywoodbets Kenilworth, when the horses duck to the outside in races of 1400m and further, is quite frightening.

I suppose in racing parlance you can term it ‘the rub of the green’.

My question is – why is there this difference in racing surfaces, when I am sure the full width of the track is treated exactly the same?

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