As part of a five-year media rights deal with Irish racing, SIS will introduce sectional timing at every Irish racecourse from January 1 next year.
They will carry out GPS and radio surveys to ensure the new technology is successfully installed, allowing sectional times to be recorded accurately.
The new data will be available at each track for display across the on-course CCTV, including any large-screen displays. In addition, broadcasting and betting partners will have an exciting opportunity to provide new services as real-time information of every horse’s position in a race will be supplied.
Questions about results, such as ‘Did the winner accelerate or simply keep on?’ and ‘Was the early pace too frenetic?’ frequently pop up when analysing races. The new data will help to answer those questions.
The general consensus amongst Irish trainers is highly encouraging, even though it is unlikely to affect their day-to-day operation.
County Kildare handler Paul Deegan, who has tasted success this season with Celebration Stakes winner Sruthan, thinks that sectional timing is a very good step for Irish racing.
“It will add value to the horses who perform so I’ll be for it,” reflected Deegan. “I can’t see any downsides at all, the more information we have the better!
“After ground, pace is the biggest contributing factor in a race. A lot of people have been screaming for a long time about it, but it’s important that it’s done right and the right people are doing it.”
It’s important that it’s done right and the right people are doing it
Dermot Weld, trainer of this year’s dual Derby hero Harzand, remains unfazed by the scheduled change, but can’t see too many negatives.
Weld said: “It wouldn’t make a difference to the way I do things, but we would obviously adapt to it where necessary.”
Damian English and County Meath trainer Ger Lyons are also staunch advocates of the new technology and feel jockeys are likely to benefit most from its implementation.
“I think this will be a superb introduction to Irish racing and will make riders, including my own, more aware of the pace they are setting,” said Lyons.