Eagle Farm is one of the bigger tracks around the nation.

The trip around is some 2026 metres and the straight is an enormous 433 metres long. This rivals Flemington (453m) in length but is not quite in the same league in circumference, with the Melbourne mammoth being some 300 metres further around and both Rosehill and Randwick being bigger by about 200 metres.

The track has several distances, amongst them being 1000 (from a chute), 1200, 1400, 1600, 1810 and 2100 to 2200 metres. There is also the 2400 start which is almost at the start of the straight, giving horses an excellent chance to settle before the sweep out of the straight, and the 3200.

The 2400 is, to my mind, the only major barrier which offers a balanced opportunity to all starters. The Derby and Oaks are run from this spot, together with the O'Shea Stakes.

However, let's see what the statistics, courtesy of The Rating Bureau, say really happens.

With very few starters the 0-1100 metre barrier figures are misleading. One or two lucky types have won from out very wide and they have skewed the figures. Still, we have to take them as we find them, and barrier thirteen has its moment of glory. It is interesting to see that the same barrier caused an anomaly at Doomben. I wonder if there's anything to be made of that!

You can see, though, that nine and upwards don't fare well at all. With that chute, the 1000 metres Lightning Handicap can be a trap for anything drawn wide.

At the 1200 mark, horses outside ten are again disadvantaged by the sweep, and those outside twelve have real problems. The inside barriers are quite obviously superior and this MUST be taken into account.

The 1400 again shows a tendency to taper off after barrier eight, with barrier eleven probably having a couple more than it ought to. Note that barrier one is on top again (as it is everywhere except the fairest barrier, the 2400).

The 1600 isn't too bad until you get out wide, and even then the figures don't fall away too drastically. This is a bit of a surprise to me, as the start is on the back corner, with a very short run into the back straight. Don Scott's famous book, still the best guide to all tracks, comments that horses drawn wide are at a serious disadvantage. It looks as if, statistically speaking, barriers up to twelve are OK though.

The 1651 through to 2050 figures take in the 1800 and the 2000 starts. These figures are difficult to interpret, with barrier one way out in front but barriers five and seven causing some concern.

One thing for sure, barrier one is a force to be reckoned with for all trifectas and other multiples.

At the 2100, 2200 and 2400 we have only one set of figures, and most of them pertain to the 2200 and 2400 marks. Given that a wide barrier isn't a desirable feature of your horse's chances any time, anywhere (except maybe Flemington when the north wind is blowing in the straight . . . ), the wide barriers here are OK. They are not as good as the others, and thirteen is diabolical. But they are reasonable overall.

So overall what do these figures tell us?

Firstly, horses drawn in the coveted one barrier win a good percentage of their races at Eagle Farm.

That the first four barriers do best at 1200 metres.

That the 1800 and 2000 are probably best for the very inside barriers.

And that at above 2050 the pattern is much as would be expected where a track offers all runners a show. In such cases, the inside barriers are always advantaged, simply because all other things are more or less equal.

There are lots of good reasons to go to Eagle Farm. Ease of access (particularly from the airport), goo