A Grade 1 track over the jumps, Newcastle’s Flat turf track is now long gone.
They race on the Tapeta all-weather surface at Gosforth Park these days and, while some traditionalist punters are not impressed, it is a very fair surface which has been amazingly supported by the top trainers.
There is still a very stiff uphill finish at Newcastle.
The Tapeta is slower than Polytrack and tougher to get through, meaning runners need to stay well. There is a half-mile straight after the final bend here with races from 5 furlongs to a mile being on the straight course. Races over 1m 2f, 1m 4f and 2m are on the round course.
Newcastle Course Draw Bias Overview
There are things punters should look out for at Newcastle. Winners here are often rated lower than they should be. Many handicappers, including the official ones, look at the times of races here and aren’t impressed. That is due to the Tapeta being slow but there is a good reason why Enable, Stradivarius, English King and others went to Newcastle before going into Group 1 company.
Top jockeys can ride well anywhere, but on a day-to-day basis look out for those who know Newcastle well. Many go for home too early and get caught out on the stiff finish.
As for the draw, they often come down the middle on the straight track. Newcastle therefore isn’t about finding a good draw so much as it is about avoiding a bad one. You don’t want your horse out on the wing.
It’s hard to know when they are going to come down the stands side, which makes a high draw good, but a low draw is very often a disadvantage.
5 Furlongs at Newcastle
In small fields when the stalls are in the centre of the track, the draw may not mean a lot. You simply don’t want to be caught on the outer.
Often however the runners migrate to the stands side rail, meaning a high draw is best. In handicaps, a high draw in fact is a very good thing. There has been a noticeable Gosforth Park Cup draw bias recently.
6-8 Furlongs at Newcastle
Over six furlongs, you may find that a high draw is a good thing especially in larger fields. The further they go on the straight course at Newcastle however, the less we find that the draw matters.
Essentially, the shorter the distance and the bigger the field the higher the number you want. This will only really be evident a few times a season, notably on Northumberland Plate weekend.
Round Course at Newcastle
There is a school of thought that a low draw over 1m2f can help. This is often negated by the track however when the stalls are placed on the outer, levelling the playing field somewhat.
Many look for a Northumberland Plate draw bias. Recent results have shown us that a low(ish) draw isn’t a massive negative, but high numbers seem to do best.
The two-mile start is in front of the stands with the first bend coming up after just a couple of furlongs. Often that is a good thing for those drawn low, but in the case of this ultra-competitive race there is often too strong an early pace and a lot of scrimmaging to get into position.
It is usually best to stay out of trouble going from there to the side of the course and into the back straight, meaning the wider draw is best.