Types of Tracks

Racetracks surfaces play a huge part in the success of a horse race as each surface type can affect the pace and effort required of many horses. Many horses will develop a record of performance which reflects their preference for specific track conditions. Whether it is turf, sand, dirt or the new synthetic range of track types, each horse suited to a different type and a certain classification within that track surface category.

The most recent track surface innovation is Polytrack which consists of sand, synthetic fibres and recycled rubber coated in a microcrystalline wax. Although it is relatively new, this surface is already being used in Australia due to its increased suitability and safety.

Surface Types


Category Description
Firm Turf is dry firm surface running fast
Good Slightly firm with slight moisture
Soft Turf contains some moisture
Yielding Deep wet turf runs slow
Heavy Very wet deep turn which is the slowest run

Sand and Dirt

Category Description
Fast Packed tight for premium conditions, this is when track records are broken
Wet-Fast Running fast but hard surface has thin layer of water
Good Dirt is drying out and slowing track down
Muddy Surface is muddy due to rain and wet conditions
Sloppy Very wet track, water has pooled up on the track
Frozen Very hard surface wet track has frozen
Slow Dirt is deep and drying out
Heavy Dirt is very deep and dry producing very slow times

Australian Track Ratings

Category Scale Description
FAST 1 A dry hard track
GOOD 2 A firm track
GOOD 3 Ideal track with some give
DEAD 4 Track with give, better side of Dead
DEAD 5 Significant give, worse side of Dead
SLOW 6 Mildly rain affected track
SLOW 7 Significantly rain affected
HEAVY 8 Soft track
HEAVY 9 Very soft track, genuine heavy
HEAVY 10 Very wet and soft