We have all seen the massive impact of changes in technology throughout the sporting world, from Hawk Eye in tennis to VAR in football, but how has this impacted horseracing and will it continue to do so? Let’s have a look at the changes brought about by technological advances and whether this will evolve horseracing further in times to come.
Horseracing has long been developing as changes to technology occur, from high speed photography to methods of betting. There have been many advantages to these, with greater accuracy in the photo finish, healthier and faster horses as well as making the sport more accessible with phone apps, the internet and television. Two hundred years ago the sport had to have a man literally try and take a photo at the finish line which was wildly inaccurate, and then an automatically triggered photograph. Today 1-dimensional array sensors ensure that we know the winner instantly and within a millimetre, much more accurately and efficiently!
The safety of both horses and their riders is of the most importance during racing, which has led to many improvements to occur and will continue to do so. A few years ago this was dramatically less important, with horses overheating, getting injured and missing jumps. From small simple measures like using bright colours to make the jumps more visible, to the most advanced medical equipment, MRI machines and thermal imaging cameras, the number of fatalities has been reduced by almost a third. A great use of technology evolving horseracing and long may it continue.
Another area which has been improved by technology is in betting, specifically mobile betting. The days of going to a betting shop in person, or rushing through the crowd to get to the front of the queue at the track are largely gone, while apps and the internet make the process instantaneous and easy. They can offer comparisons so you can check up on, for example, Eagle Farm racing odds or any other race course from anywhere. Placing bets has long been thought of as a part of this kind of sport and is likely to stay that way, with greater technology leading to greater convenience for all involved.
Similarly, technology has allowed us to gather more information of all kinds which have evolved horseracing. We know more about the weather, which affects the going and even if a race will take place in safety. It is easier to discover a horse’s previous track record and predict outcomes, and to map the course to help your horse pass through it with greater ease. Again this is likely to only grow as time passes and new ways of gathering and recording data come into use.
While breeding and bloodlines have long been tools to ensure a good horse, there have been many developments in training and how we raise and look after our horses using new technologies to aid in their health and success. Machines to help horses get used to racing, different surfaces and stabling all contribute to this ever growing field, so watch this space!
All in all it is true that technology has had a huge impact on horses, riders and horseracing itself, and this trend is likely to continue as the world continues to improve on its technology and apply it in new ways.