Race Track Condition is also referred to as track rating or the going in a race and describes the state of the track surface at the time a race is run. Australian race clubs use a penetrometer to determine the amount of moisture in the track or how easy it is to penetrate the soil in the track's surface. A ten level universal scale is applied for all Australian horse racing tracks as shown below:
In the interest of equine safety and career longevity, track curators typically apply sufficient water to a track on race day to eliminate the chance of a Fast Track. Race meetings are abandoned in Australia when the track is rated a Heavy 10 and is degrading or the drainage capabilities of the course are insufficient to provide short term improvement.
Some horses have sensitivities to track conditions while other horses don't. It is important to understand the career performance of each horse in a race for the particular track rating which it faces in the race that you are assessing the form for. All good racing form guides will show each horse's runs and placings over Fast, Good, Dead, Slow and Heavy track conditions. Punters can summarise these statistics to be 'dry' and 'wet' and aggregate the performance over Dry tracks (Fast to Good) and Wet (Slow to Heavy). Punters should be weary of drying tracks as they can tend to provide different experiences to runners depending on where they are running on the track as a result of the track's drainage pattern. Professional punters will tend to bet on wet or dry tracks but remain very cautious on drying tracks.