New rating system for horse racing

THE Australian Racing Board has announced a new Australia-wide track rating system will start from today.

The new system of 10 ratings will start at Firm 1 and go through to Heavy 10.

The revised system removes the terms 'Fast', 'Dead' and 'Slow' replacing them with 'Firm' and 'Soft' while also retaining the terms 'Good' and 'Heavy'.

ARB chief executive Peter McGauran said the decision had been made after significant input from all sections of the industry, including punters.

"The ARB was keen to hear from punters and we received several dozen submissions to the draft. There was unanimous support for retaining the numerical system of 1 to 10, but there were a variety of views in keeping the descriptions," McGuaran told

"Eventually we settled on a system which is more positive, clear and modern for punters and industry participants alike."

Racing Victoria's executive general manager racing, Greg Carpenter, said he believed the change was a positive move for the industry.

"The new descriptions are a welcome and overdue modernisation of the language of racing that also makes our descriptors consistent with terms used on the international stage," Carpenter said.

"The major feedback from punters and industry participants was that we should retain the numerical element of the ratings."


Firm 1: Dry hard track

Firm 2: Firm track

Good 3: Track with good grass coverage and cushion

Good 4: Track with some give in it

Soft 5: Track with a reasonable amount of give in it

Soft 6: Moist, but not badly affected track

Soft 7: More rain-affected track that will chop out

Heavy 8: Rain-affected track that horses will get into

Heavy 9: Wet track getting into a squelchy area

Heavy 10: Heaviest category track, very wet, towards saturation

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