On The Rails
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 May, 2013, 3:59am

Much like the weather these days, dirt track is a lottery


Alan Aitken has worked in all facets of the media and was the master of the famous AJC Punters Podium at Sydney racecourses for many years. He was one of Australia's most respected racing journalists over almost two decades with The Sydney Morning Herald before joining SCMP in 2001. Alan also has extensive magazine and radio experience and is a respected racing form analyst.

The good news is that we appear to have only 10 more AWT races left this season - all-weather track, awful weather track or all-wet track, call it what you will.

Hopefully, the weather itself can be kind and allow some maintenance on the course during that time because something is broken there - not that we were ever fans of the AWT - and it has become unreadable, a lottery.

One day the rail is red hot, the next quick sand, but nothing else seems to have changed. Many of the leading jockeys even shrug and admit it's a mystery and they get a better guide to the likely biases than most because they are riding trackwork on it on the morning of the races.

And while on the matter of track oddities, is it time the club revisited the ins and outs of the Sha Tin straight course? The advantages of a position against the outside rail seem never to have been greater than this season - so much so that half the field each straight race might as well stay home.

Before the placing of the barriers against the outside rail at the start, the rail placements did bring more variety: on the A course, for example, winners frequently came down the centre or inside of the track, but you simply don't see that now.


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