Australian track ratings range from Firm to Heavy, with firm being the hardest surface, and heavy being the softest. Track ratings are very important for the racing public to ensure punters are aware of the racing conditions available for the day, in order to make an informed bet on a particular fancy.
Most horses race best on a firm, dry track and are best suited to Firm and Good tracks. Other horses are able to plough through the mud on a wet track quite easily and are best suited to damp, soft conditions.
Once the track conditions are known you can study the form guide even further to weed out noted mudlarks. Look for horses who have previous winning form in the conditions of the race in question before placing a bet.
New Australian race track ratings were implemented by the Australian Racing Board from December 1st, 2014 to have a graded rating system that provides a more accurate assessment of the condition of the track.
Race tracks that have received very heavy rainfall could have a track that is rated at worse than Heavy 10 which may cause the track to be unsafe for racing. if that's the case, the meeting can conceivably be postponed or abandoned by race stewards, in the best interests of jockeys and horses.
If a race club alters a track rating during the course of a race meeting it will sound a siren at the track to alert punters to the change.
For Synthetic Tracks the following Track Rating Scale is effective from December 1st, 2014.