Day At The Track

A primer on Aussie handicapping

05:11 AM 26 Apr 2020 NZST
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Harness racing
Author Jerry Connors (on right) with trainer/driver Mark Harder.
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Hall of Fame Communicator Jerry Connors wrote this story for Harness Racing Update from a North American's view on handicapping and wagering on Australian racing.

As we continue without any pari-mutuel harness racing on which to bet in North America, wagering services, through computer or phone, do continue to offer up some harness action – although “the rules” are a good deal different than what we are used to in the already-challenging North American game.

I have my betting service through Penn National, as in Pennsylvania we were (at least at the time) supposed to sign up with the most local service provided. And through Penn National, I have been able to see some Australian harness racing cards, and I have sought to try to come to an understanding of their racing and their fields before the races go – trying to keep sharp my handicapping skills (betting we’ll talk about at the end).

So here is a primer on what I have learned about the process of deciphering the form of Australian harness racing.

1. What we see in North America is Australia’s daytime cards.

The east coast of Australia is 14 hours “ahead” of East Coast time, meaning that if their races are to start at 10 p.m. here, it’s already noon the next day Down Under. Thus, we see the daytime cards. If they were sending nighttime cards that started at say 7:30 p.m., they would be starting at 5:30 a.m. here, and with all due respects to followers of South African racing, that’s just not prime time for western hemisphere bettors.

2. The schedule of races for the entire country, and all kinds of handicapping information, is available at

This site is the equivalent of the USTA and Standardbred Canada main sites. You click on “Racing” then “Form Guides,” their term for what we would call program pages, and then click on the track you’re interested in. You can print out the program pages/Form Guides for the card (they call a day of racing a “meeting”) or for certain races. We’ll explain how to read the Form Guide – the most important part of handicapping – later on.

To read the rest of the story, click here. 

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