With a history dating back to the 1600s, organised horseracing in Britain has witnessed a wealth of changes reflecting those experienced in wider society. During the 20th century, the most notable developments affecting the industry have resulted from advances in technology – from television bringing horseracing into people’s homes for the first time, to the occurrence of starting stalls and the photo finish.
The 21st century has brought further technological progress which continues to influence the sport. TurfTrax Ltd is leading the way through its ongoing development of technologically advanced products to help horse racing and other sports, improve standards and enhance performance.
The development of the GoingStick, TurfTrax’s original creation that was cultivated in response to a direct need expressed by the industry, involved the company combining their sports turf management expertise with knowledge of soil physics, to produce a product that has since become an industry standard. MD Mike Maher explains:
“The ‘going’, or in other words the condition and characteristics of the ground at a racecourse, is a major factor determining how well a horse may run. Accurate knowledge about the going can affect a trainer’s decision to race a horse, as well as having a direct impact on the odds given by bookmakers and indeed, the betting public’s decisions about where to place their bets.”
Since 2007 all UK racehorses have been required under British Horseracing Authority rules, to issue a GoingStick reading with their race day Going Report, a true indicator of how valued this data has become in the UK. TurfTrax has extended its role in Going analysis with the Going Map, which uses GoingStick technology to produce a fully informed report of an entire race course, providing a valuable piece of information to course managers, trainers, bookies and punters alike.
Furthermore, TurfTrax’s drive to provide a full and accurate data service to the horseracing establishment and other turf sports, has led to the development of its Weather System, which uses on site equipment to make both historic and real-time detailed weather information available to users online through PC, smart phone and tablet devices. This system is in use at all of the UKs leading race tracks.
The latest development from TurfTrax comes once again in response to requests from the horse racing industry. The TurfTrax Tracking System (TTS) provides real-time data about a horse’s performance during any race, event or training session, as Mike reveals:
“The customised technology used in our Tracking System provides a level of accuracy that is superior to that achieved through GPS. Data generated provides an improved depth of statistical detail than is available through traditional timing methods, allowing great insight into horse performance during races, or indeed training. Summaries for individual horses can be produced instantly, benefitting all those involved.”
This data has most recently been implemented in Channel 4’s Horse Tracker app for smart phones and tablets, which was number one in App Store with 165,000 downloads in the week it was launched, prior to the Grand National in April. The app has now been re-launched for the Flat racing season and will feature as part of the prestigious ‘QIPCO British Champions Series’ races that are being televised on Channel 4 throughout the summer and autumn.
Having established itself as a prominent and respected player in the British horseracing sector, TurfTrax is now looking to take advantage of opportunities in this market overseas. To aid this expansion, the company has secured a £100,000 Regional Growth Loan from Finance East. Stuart Ager, Senior Fund Manager at Finance East comments:
“With a highly regarded suite of products and a successful track record in the UK, TurfTrax Ltd is in a prime position to penetrate the global horse racing market. We are excited to be fuelling this expansion and look forward to seeing the company achieve its growth plans”.