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05 Jul 10 12:55
Date Joined: 26 Jun 09
| Topic/replies: 1,890 | Blogger: LeinsterBeliever's blog
I was looking into this recently and wanted to get some background info and find out the history of it being a non-runner in UK & Irish racing.

I read an article from about three years ago that Turftrax were investigating having sectional timings. However the article never said it was implemented. Does anyone know was it or did they run out of cash?

Also I heard that they tried to do it at Newmarket but a leading trainer refused to have the GPS tags on his horses saddle cloth so it became a non-runner. I think that was in the earlier part of the last decade.

After O'Brien being pretty open regarding Starspangledbanner work times before Ascot, so I wonder would the trainers be  opposed now? If anyone could let me know if it was tried anywhere for awhile that would be great.

I just want to find out more about the history and politics of it never really kicking off here.
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Report Stow_judge July 5, 2010 12:59 PM BST
someone posted this a while back :-

If you want to see the future, watch:

Another UK initiative lost to the USA?

You can see from the video how important this can be for integrity and
for evidence to resolve disqualifications etc.

The range of punter data available puts Turftrax to shame and the way
they go about marketing things to help punters and attract new
customers to racing.
USA tracks are actually queing up to put this technology on their
tracks and websites. UK is almost completely indifferent. A chance for
Flatstats to get in at the start?
Report duncan idaho July 5, 2010 1:12 PM BST
I think Turftrax did it for AW courses until it became financially not viable...prob best to contact them, i'd say
Report ged July 5, 2010 1:29 PM BST
I think it was done for a while on the flat in 2005 and 2006. Aidan O'Brien refused to let his Guineas horses (Footstepsinthe sand and Virginia Waters) carry them. John Gosden also spoke out against them - there were mutterings about the chips revealing "proprietary data" that belonged to the owners. I think the owners of Self Defense made this claim too. I think the idea was dropped by the BHB (BHA) in spring of 2007.
Report ged July 5, 2010 1:31 PM BST
I think it was channel 4 who were pushing the use of them as much as any, and there was a fair amount of discussion on C4 after the Champion Stakes at Newmarket in 2005, when Dubawi was beaten by Starcraft after racing in the middle of the track before coming across to the stands side.
Report pedrobob July 5, 2010 1:34 PM BST
mutterings about the chips revealing "proprietary data" that belonged to the owners

why don't the owners just tax fresh air? How can data about how fast a horse is running on a public racecourse be "proprietary data"?
Report duncan idaho July 5, 2010 1:37 PM BST
''why don't the owners just tax fresh air? How can data about how fast a horse is running on a public racecourse be "proprietary data"? ''

Imo you have failed as a human being when you start coming out with crap like that (the owners, not you pedrobob!). Proprietary data, my arris
Report ged July 5, 2010 1:38 PM BST
There's a statement (about the idea being dropped) in the BHB CEO's report of March 2007, saying "only AWT racing offers a long term future for its (ie Turftrax's) product in Britain"
Report ged July 5, 2010 1:43 PM BST
Here's a statement from Fraser Miller racing (who had Self Defense with Emma Lavelle), from Nov 2004:-

UNTIL the Rules of Racing require horses to run with speed-sensing chips, no Fraser Miller Racing horse will do so until the valid authority - the Jockey Club, not broadcasters nor businesses - requires it to do so.

Vested interests are seeking short-term commercial gain from their use and have sought to dictate to racing how they should operate.

Most trainers were unaware until recently that their horses had been carrying chips. Owners were also unaware as they had not been consulted.

When will racing wise up to the fact that its most important customer is the owner? Without the hundreds of millions of pounds derived from owners annually, the bloodstock and racing industries would be bankrupt.

If racing stops being enjoyable for owners, they will spend their money elsewhere. Most owners never win any significant prize-money - and certainly not enough to cover the costs involved.

Speed chips have provided an excellent opportunity to publicise and demonstrate the continued contempt with which owners are treated by many sectors of the industry.

Fraser Miller are in racing to support the sport, not for personal or commercial gain.

The insults and harassment that Jenny Foster has had to suffer for standing up for owners' rights against the bullyboy and underhand tactics of vested interests would appear to indicate that we have touched a significant nerve.

BRIAN SLADE Fraser Miller Racing Woking
Report pedrobob July 5, 2010 1:47 PM BST
if BHA were willing to introduce sectional timing, could probably save time, money and effort spent on:
1. clerks of the course and false going readings
2. security department and investigating "dodgy races"
3. marketing the sport to a wider audience (non-punters, punters, owners, trainers, handicappers etc) with probably one of the most valuable pieces of information there is about a racehorse - how fast it can run
Report ged July 5, 2010 1:52 PM BST
From May 2, 2005:-

AIDAN O'BRIEN left the Newmarket management ``frustrated'' yesterday when he deliberately removed the new speed-sensing chip from the saddle cloth of Virginia Waters before she raced to victory in the 1,000 Guineas, writes Andrew Scutts. O'Brien also removed the microchip from the saddle cloth of George Washington before the two-year-old colt made his debut in a later race.

``It's frustrating,'' said Newmarket's clerk of the course Michael Prosser, ``but we can't yet make trainers carry it.''

Virginia Waters matched stablemate Footstepsinthesand in more ways than one, as the 2,000 Guineas winner also failed to sport the chip, a monitor manufactured by Turftrax that reads how quickly a horse is travelling and conveys information to racegoers and TV viewers.

O'Brien, addressing the issue, said: ``I would have no problem with the device if they made it a bit smaller, but thoroughbreds are too delicate for things not to be absolutely perfect.

``I don't want to be controversial about this, but I admit I took out the chips from Footstepsinthesand and Virginia Waters.''

O'Brien, who permitted Oratorio to carry his transmitter in the 2,000 Guineas, could be forced to toe the line this summer as the BHB is planning to make the carrying of the Turftrax device compulsory from July 1.

Turftrax's spokesman Paul Cooper explained how the company was still able to produce unofficial data for the 2,000 Guineas winner.

He said: ``It was produced using video evidence and a mathematical calculation. It took quite a while on Saturday night, and it was complex, hard work.''
Report metro john July 5, 2010 1:56 PM BST
Waste of time they keep moving rails etc!
Report re raise July 5, 2010 1:57 PM BST
I would pay £100 a month for a subscription that provided good tracking technology that provided decent sectional time, exact distance run figures, stuff like that.
Report LeinsterBeliever July 5, 2010 2:42 PM BST
Thanks lads, your research was much better than mine.

It seems, especially from Fraser Miller point, that the manner in which it was introduced seemed to be the problem rather than actual idea.

Also I imagine regarding Aidan's point that the GPS/chips stuff must be tiny now, considering we all have them in our phones now. All the racing for change seems to focus on bringing in new customers but as a few posters mentioned an accurate (rails adjusted) timings systems would be popular for punters. You'd bet more with more accurate info, paying more levy.
Report doreen01 July 5, 2010 4:16 PM BST
Stow Judge

Just look at Trakus Railcast - they can computerise any race and it can give you a great replay with actual commentary.

UK racing is going down the toilet and rapidly lurching back into the 20th Century !
Report doreen01 July 5, 2010 4:16 PM BST
sorry - you tube link -
Report fawwon July 5, 2010 4:33 PM BST
Wolverhampton had sectional timing 2000/2001, I remember emailing the track once in hope, and getting them from a M Dumelow? chap.
Were great but didnt last long.
Report fawwon July 5, 2010 4:35 PM BST
Even the poorest of meatball tracks in usa has them for every race run
Report nevermindtheballcks July 5, 2010 4:46 PM BST
Turftrax timing equipment was supposedly portable but there were never enough sets to cover more than the AW tracks and Newmarket; it took a lot of time and money to set up.

They has financial problems because of the poor sales of their data; even after refinancing and floating on AIM, they could not make it go without big funding from the tracks or BHA, and neither was prepared to make any.

Last I heard they had sold their technology to Japan.

Developers of the Going Stick also.
Report cornubia July 5, 2010 4:58 PM BST
Even the Trakus technology is out of date now and you can achieve the same far more cheaply with GPS.
All the AW tracks and Newmarket had reported sectional timings for several seasons - other courses were timed for a few meetings.
BHA regulated that horses had to run with saddle chips on timed courses.

Turftrax also pioneered an in-running race betting visualisation using their sectional timings. No bookie would help out with the costs or take the system on. BHA had no clue as to who owned patents/ rights for the data and would not sponsor Turftrax work even though it is the most convincing hard evidence against racing fraud and non-triers. RFC were amazed to see Trakus being used as Meydan - they and BHA though it was all something brand new - not something that they actually had in UK a few years ago.

Trainers that do not use any scientific aids, do not stop watch timing nor weigh their horses do not really want to be shown up for the incompetent charlatans they are but to be fair have not opposed this topic strongly nor have most owners apart from the usual blowhards. It failed in UK because too few punters would even pay a few £ a week for a Turftax subscription. Many of them would be too thick to ever be able to use the data in any case. So Turftrax, the most progressive company we have ever had in racing, went belly up.

I therefore devised my own method to get all this vital data analysed and recorded automatically so have no particular axe to grind.
Report Mick Sturbs July 5, 2010 5:20 PM BST
Some punters would not pay for sectional timing because they don't know how to use the info and don't see the point of it.
Report Stow_judge July 5, 2010 5:36 PM BST
metro john     05 Jul 10 13:56 
Waste of time they keep moving rails etc!
I presumed that the data told you the distance each of the horses had travelled, so moving the rails would not matter.
Report Roger De Bris July 5, 2010 5:56 PM BST
Turftrax failed to deliver what they said when they set out. Didnt have enough sets of timing devices to cover two all-weather tracks if they raced on the same day. Waste of time.
Trakus sounds a lot easier to implement. Up to the BHA to drag UK Racing forward. Maybe Irish Racing could beat them to it and get it in....
Report LeinsterBeliever July 5, 2010 5:56 PM BST
RP and Timeform do have their time figure so I think it's a matter of them allocating resource to have specific analysts to this data.
Report Viagra Man July 6, 2010 8:23 AM BST
The powers that be don't want to make life easier for the punter.  They get paid from bookmakers profits, so its in their best interest to have false going reports, excess watering, movement of rails etc.
Report empty July 6, 2010 8:31 AM BST
THe powers that be don't seemm to want racing as a serious betting medium.

BTW, the rail is moved in an out on a regular basis o US turf courses.
Report Viagra Man July 6, 2010 9:36 AM BST
Yeah I realise that, but its like a memo was sent out to all COC's directing them to make life as difficult as possible.  I really believe that the occasions when over watering has occurred that its not been done in error.  Sometimes I wonder why I ever bet on the sport, its absolutely rotten to the core.
Report empty July 6, 2010 9:41 AM BST
Withdraw  VM, this industry does not deserve your support.
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