The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), together with Cheltenham Racecourse and Racetech, on Monday announced that new official Jump race timing technology will be in place for The Festival™ presented by Magners in 2019 which begins on Tuesday.
The new electronic system, which uses break-beam technology, has been developed to satisfy the demand for accurate and consistent timing data for Jump racing from those who follow and bet on the sport as well as from within the racing industry.
It has been developed by Racetech and selected following extensive trialling by the BHA Racecourse Operations teams and will be in place for the first time for tomorrow.
The break-beam technology works by having an invisible beam sent across the width of the track from a tripod stand located close to the starter’s rostrum approximately one metre from the starting tape. Once the beam is broken by the first horse crossing it, a signal is sent to the judge’s box to begin the timing function.
This official electronic race time will finish once the nose of the winner hits the finish line and will record a winning time for the winner/race, which will be available via the results section of the BHA website.
Times and distances for individual finishers afterwards are then calculated through the photo finish system and also displayed on the results section of the BHA website, as is the case currently.
Emma Marley, Head of Racecourse Operations at the BHA, said: “The new electronic Jump timing technology has been trialled extensively and will provide more consistent, reliable and centralised data for the sport’s participants and customers at Cheltenham this week and for their future fixtures.
“We will look to make the Jump timing technology available for roll out to all Jump courses over the next 12 months.”
Simon Claisse, Regional Head of Racing, South West & Clerk of the Course at Cheltenham, said: “We are delighted to be working at the forefront of technology with enhancements to race timing that will help deliver the most accurate outcomes.”
John Bozza, CEO of Racetech said: “RaceTech is delighted to have worked with the BHA and our racecourse stakeholders to develop this new informative technology, supporting our vision to be the technical service provider of choice for UK racing. It is especially pleasing to launch this week at the Cheltenham Festival."
Further guidance on the jump race timing technology:
The beam tripod stands are located sufficiently apart from the running rails to minimize the possibility of the technology being compromised by horses and/or staff down at the start. It has also been proven to be accurate in false start conditions when a standing start is affected.
Historically, Jump racing in Great Britain has not had official times supplied as part of the official result; however Flat Racing has seen timing systems in place since 1950 with digital timing providing official data since 2003.
Official times for GB Flat Racing are currently announced by the Judge on course and reported as part of the comprehensive result where every completing competitor is given an official time and distance from the winning horse.