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Why are some horses track specialists?

Why do some tracks produce nightmare results for punters?

Why do some tracks favour leaders?

These answers and more can be found in our descriptions of Australia's main horse racing tracks. 

Sandown Park is the Melbourne Racing Club's second racecourse. It is regularly used for midweek and Sunday racing.

Racing is now conducted on two tracks, Lakeside, which closely resembles the former track, and Hillside. When creating a totally new track, Hillside, the Melbourne Racing Club also increased the width of the Sandown straight from 30 metres to 45 metres. Below is the layout of the former track.

Lakeside Track

This track closely resembles the former track.

The most noticeable change is that races can use the full 45 metres width of the main straight. The Lakeside track uses new ground created on the inside of the former track commencing at the 600 metres mark.

The area from the 1400 metres to the 600 metres races over part of the old track. But extra track has also been added so that the width is a constant 30 metres.

Lakeside's cicumference is 1857 metres, which is 34 metres less than the old circuit. The length of the straight is the same - 407 metres. The rise in the ground in the main straight from the 400 metres mark to the winning post has increased from 65 centimetres to 90 centimetres. This makes the track an even tougher test.

Lakeside Track Barrier Guide

1000 metres: There are no races over this distance on the track.

1200 metres:
Situated on the course proper there is a straight run of about 350 metres to the sweeping double turn to the home straight. Inside barriers are a slight advantage.

1300 metres:
Similar to the 1300 metres start. There is a straight run of about 450 metres to the sweeping turn to the home straight. Inside barriers are a slight advantage.

1600 metres: This barrier is located in a chute off the back straight. There is a straight run of about 750 metres to the sweeping double bend to the home straight. Inside barriers are a slight advantage.

2100 metres: This barrier is located in the home straight approximately 200 metres from the winning post. Inside barriers have an advantage.

2200 metres: This barrier is located in the home straight approximately 300 metres from the winning post. Inside barriers have an advantage.

Hillside Track

Races conducted on the Hillside track use the outside 30 metres section of the main straight. A moveable rail is positioned along the length of the straight to protect the inside 15 metres for the Lakeside track.

This new track has an increased circumference of 2087 metres. The length of the main straight is 491 metres, compared to 407 metres for the former Sandown track and the Lakeside track.

However, the rise in the ground in the main straight from the 400 metres mark to the winning post is 65 centimetres, the same as the former Sandown track.

Hillside Track Barrier Guide

1000 metres: Located in a shoot which merges with the outer home turn, there is a straight run of about 400 metres to the home turn. Inside barriers are a slight advantage.

1300 metres:
Situated on the course proper there is a straight run of about 300 metres to the sweeping double turn to the home straight. Inside barriers have an advantage.

1400 metres:
Similar to the 1300 metres start, situated on the course proper there is a straight run of about 400 metres to the sweeping double turn to the home straight. Inside barriers have a slight advantage.

1500 metres: Similar to the 1400 metres start, situated on the course proper there is a straight run of about 500 metres to the sweeping double turn to the home straight. Inside barriers have a slight advantage.

1600 metres:
This barrier is located in a chute off the back straight. There is a straight run of about 600 metres to the sweeping double bend to the home straight. Inside barriers are a slight advantage.

1800 metres: This barrier is located in a chute off the back straight. There is a long straight run of about 800 metres to the sweeping double bend to the home straight. Inside barriers are a slight advantage.

2200 metres: This barrier is located in the home straight only about 100 metres from the winning post. Inside barriers are a significant advantage.

2400 metres: Similar to the 2200 metrs start, this barrier is located in the home straight about 300 metres from the winning post. Inside barriers are an advantage.

Details for the Former Track

It has a circumference of 1,891 metres. The straight is 407 metres long.

The turns on the course are all banked making the going heavier near the rails in wet weather which of course means if your horse is forced to race near the rails it has little chance.

In the home straight jockeys often go to the centre of the track and when the rail is moved out often take their mounts to the outside rail.

From all starts there is plenty of straight before the first turn giving all horses a fair chance of getting a good position.

It is a very difficult track for horses to lead throughout and win. Many horses are taken to the lead too early in the home straight only to be run down near the finishing line by a swooper. It is often best not to hit the lead until the last 50 metres.

It is a course for specialists. Many horses race much better at Sandown than anywhere else. Horses who race well at the provincial track at Geelong usually do well at Sandown.

Barrier Guide

1000 metres: This barrier is located at the end of a long chute. There is an excellent straight run of about 600 metres to the home turn. Inside barriers are a slight advantage.

1200 metres:
Situated on the course proper in the back of the straight. There is a straight run of about 400 metres to the sweeping double bend to the home straight. Inside barriers are a slight advantage.

1400 metres:
Similar to the 1200 metres start. There is a straight run of about 600 metres to the sweeping double bend to the home straight. Inside barriers are a slight advantage.

1500 metres:
This barrier is located in a chute off the back straight. There is a straight run of about 700 metres to the sweeping double bend to the home straight. Inside barriers are a slight advantage.

1600 metres:
Similar to the 1500 metres start. There is a straight run of about 800 metres to the sweeping double bend to the home straight. Inside barriers are a slight advantage. There is also a common misconception that outside barriers are an advantage in big fields.

2100 metres: This barrier is located in the home straight. There is a good straight run of about 400 metres to the first sweeping double bend. Inside barriers are a slight advantage.

2400 metres: This barrier starts in a chute at the top of the home straight. This is where the Sandown Cup starts. There is a good run straight run of about 700 metres to the first sweeping double bend. Inside barriers are a slight advantage.

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