For James Willoughby's thoughts on why sectional timing data matters, click HERE.
We are delighted to have recently introduced sectional data timing to the Racing TV service, a vital tool for the racing enthusiast and punter.
Timing information will not only enhance your viewing experience but also might point you in the way of a winner or two.
Initially, easy-to-interpret data – such as race clock, leader’s speed, leader’s time per furlong and distance to finish – will be available for live in-race broadcasts on Racing TV, Racing TV Extra and its broadcast partners. In time, as people’s understanding of the product develops, enhanced on-screen graphics, including horses’ in-race placings / changing odds, will be implemented.
So how does it work? Well, the system is operated by our partners, Coursetrack, and involves horses carrying ultra-lightweight GPS trackers, designed to fit within the saddlecloth. The trackers connect directly to a centralised operation at Racing TV’s Ealing Studios, West London, meaning there is no need for antenna installations on-course. The team at Ealing utilise and monitor both pictures and talkback to ensure accuracy and reliability.
This, reliable, low-latency and easy-to-interpret data offers a scientific evaluation of a horse’s performance and considerably enhances the viewing and betting experience.
The data will be presented for live in-race broadcasts on Racing TV, Racing TV Extra and its broadcast partners, and will also significantly enhance on-screen and online analysis.
The data will be available in the results section on www.racingtv.com the day after the fixture.
Coursetrack sectional timing Q&A
Q: What is Coursetrack?
A: Coursetrack is a UK-based technology company specialising in the delivery of data within sport. Its tracking system collects in-running positional data for all horses during races. For more visit Coursetrack.
Q: How did you decide upon Coursetrack and what is RMG’s involvement?
A: Following years of extensive RFPs, exhaustive trialling and constant development, RMG has invested in Coursetrack.
Q: How does the tracking system work and how is it integrated?
A: Horses carry lightweight GPS trackers, designed to fit within the saddlecloth. The trackers then send their low-latency GPS data (@ 0.15s) directly to RMG’s production centre in Ealing, West London, via mobile networks. This means there is no need for antenna installations on course and therefore minimal operational impact. Coursetrack will be fully integrated into RMG’s centre at Ealing and the team there will utilise both pictures and talkback to ensure accuracy and reliability.
Q: What can the tracking data be used for?
A: Tracking data has many different applications, including the production of performance data (e.g. sectional times) and the ability to add to the broadcast production of horse racing, which can enhance the enjoyment of races and also be used as a valuable betting tool.
Q: What are sectional times?
A: They are the times taken for each horse to complete a section of a race, usually a furlong.
Q: What can they tell us?
A: They can tell us a plethora of information, including the top and average speed a horse travels, the speed a horse travels for each furlong, the total distance covered, time elapsed and distance to go, and the in-running position of each horse.
Q: What sort of things should I be looking for?
A: There are many different possible answers to this, but James Willoughby’s article provides a perfect illustration of what we should look for. As he says, pace makes the race. Racehorses run best when their energy is used optimally; in most cases, this means the jockey must regulate their mount's effort as evenly as possible, considering the distance of the race and the bends and undulations of the track. Sectional times are recorded continuously through a race for each horse, using GPS technology to record its position at each instant. The analysis of the data can then provide valuable information as to a horse’s performance. For more, visit here.
Q: Will the data enhance broadcasts?
A: There are ‘live’ elements such as speed, time elapsed, distance to go, live sectionals and positioning which will enhance the broadcasts and be controlled by the production team. An example is here.
Q: Which broadcasters will use it?
A: Racing TV and Extra will use it for enhancing live output, as well as post-race analysis. On-course CCTV at RMG’s tracks will also use the data in a similar way to Racing TV (Racetech will deliver same graphics as RTV). ITV could also look to incorporate some of the data into its programming.
Q: How will the bookmakers use it and when will that happen?
A: Bookmakers who are Watch & Bet customers will be provided access to the in-play data. In addition, we will work with bookmakers to support the further development of in play betting on racing.
Q: How do you allow for differences in course constitution and/or distance vagaries (rail movements, inaccurate measurements, etc)?
A: The Coursetrack system automatically allows for small rail movements. However, if more aggressive course changes are made these are manually changed prior to racing.
Q: Can I be sure that the method of production is the same for Coursetrack as it is for other timing services? If not, how can I compare one with the others? Will any elements of sectional output be consistent?
A: While there is currently no industry standard for the technical collection of data, the outputs should deliver broadly the same outputs. i.e. speed, distance travelled etc
Q: Will the times count as the official BHA times?
A: Potentially for jumps racing, but not for Flat racing.
Q: Which racecourses will sectional timing and data be available for?
A: Timing information produced on Racecourse Media Group (RMG)’s 34 shareholder racecourses will be rolled out to all RMG racecourses.
Q: Where will the data be published, and which races will it be available for?
A: The data will be available in the results section on www.racingtv.com the day after the fixture.
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