Racing Victoria unveils Updated Track Preparation Policy / Victoria / 17 Nov, 2014

Racing Victoria has unveiled its updated track preparation policy which provides the guidelines for Clubs to deliver a surface that is conducive to safe and fair racing.

The policy, which has been the subject of a comprehensive review, will be implemented in-line with the planned introduction on 1 December 2014 of new descriptors for the national track rating system.

Under the new national track rating system, the descriptors have been amended to Firm, Good, Soft and Heavy with the rating system of 1 to 10 retained.

Following is summary of RV’s current track preparation policy and its updated one from 1 December 2014;

Current Policy
> Clubs should aim to prepare a track which is rated a Good 3 for the majority of the race meeting.

> Clubs should aim to prepare a track with a rating of Good 3 for the race meeting, that being a track with good grass coverage and cushion;

> Clubs should not deliver a track with a rating of Firm 1 or Firm 2 at any time during the race meeting; and

> Clubs should not place compliance with the policy in advance of an accurate track rating.

To compliment the introduction of the updated policy, RV has also announced the following;

> That Club track managers and the RV trackwalker will announce on race morning the expected track rating for the first race of the meeting not the rating at the time of the morning inspection; and

> That RV is instructing Clubs for consistency to utilise mechanical track softening technology where appropriate with eight industry-owned aerators now strategically placed across the state.

RV Executive General Manager Infrastructure and Club Support, Jamie McGuinness, said that the policy provides clarity for Clubs with their raceday track preparation to ensure the safety and welfare of all participants as well as a fair racing surface.

“This updated track preparation policy is the result of an extensive consultation process which incorporated metropolitan and regional track managers and administrators, along with the trainers, jockeys and owners’ associations, punters, participants, media representatives and vets,” McGuinness said.

“The review supported the finding that a Good 3 track, that being one with good grass coverage and cushion, is the ideal track for the safety of participants and to deliver fair and competitive racing.

“Under the updated policy, we do not want to see Firm 1 or Firm 2 tracks at any point during a race meeting, however we’re reiterating to all Clubs the need to provide an accurate rating should circumstances lead to a track that is not presented as a Good 3.”

McGuinness said that RV is conducting workshops with Victorian track managers across the next week to detail the updated policy and outline its expectation of track preparation beyond 1 December 2014.

The workshops will include discussion on strategies to deliver the optimum racing surface including expert advice from irrigation specialists Toro on best-practice procedures.

The review conducted by RV also examined the current policy around late scratchings as a result of an upgrade and/or downgrade of the track rating, with feedback sought from participants on whether scratching should only be permitted when a track changes two or more rating points.

The overwhelming sentiment from the consultation process was that the current late scratching policy, which allows a horse to be withdrawn when any track upgrade or downgrade is made, be retained.

Following are the new national track rating descriptors which are planned for use from 1 December 2014:

Old Rating

NEW Rating


New Description of Numerical Rating




Dry hard track




Firm track with reasonable grass coverage




Track with good grass coverage and cushion




Track with some give in it




Track with a reasonable amount of give in it




Moist but not a badly affected track




More rain affected track that will chop out




Rain affected track that horses will get into




Wet track getting into a squelchy area




Heaviest category track, very wet, towards saturation