Sectional timing not for everyone
Last week, these scribblings questioned the timing of the Levy Board providing £900,000 funding for sectional timing and tracking data to be installed at all British racecourses.
Is now the right time to devote a not insubstantial amount when prize-money is likely to be cut due to a surprise £17m shortfall in last year’s Levy’s income and the prospect of considerable reductions in racecourse revenue from media rights as hundreds of betting shops face closure?
The same issue has been raised elsewhere, together with the merits of sectional timing to help find winners being queried.
Challenging the merits of sectional timing causes some of its advocates to get a little hot under the collar. They believe it is an essential addition to information available to punters and suggesting otherwise is selling the sport short.
So, what is the appetite among the sport’s followers in terms of the usefulness of the sectional timing and tracking data as part of the armoury for finding a winner?
The Racing Hub conducted a poll on Twitter asking that If sectional timing and tracking data was available for every British race meeting, to what extent would people use the information for placing bets.
The answer suggests that the sectional timing camp has a job on its hands to persuade the sport’s followers of its value. The results were:
Never use – 27%
Sometime use – 31%
Often use – 21%
Always use – 21%
There were also some supporting comments is response to the poll.
Chris Connolly tweeted “Never understood the time concept; (horses) aren’t greyhounds, there are too many variables for times of any kind to be taken too seriously. I may look from time to time if I think a race has been run at a muddling pace, etc. Just for reference rather than a way of betting.”
Jason Budd said “For me, would use on AW almost regularly. But nature of our turf tracks, rail movements going changes etc, would be way more cautious.”
Maybe someone who is enthusiastic about sectional timing could offer an explanation of what benefits it brings to finding winners, and how, to see if they can win over some of those who remain unconvinced. If so, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org
A mistake is a mistake
It’s been quite a while since the BHA has had to issue an apology. It once seemed to be a regular occurrence. But, this week, racing’s governing body had to say sorry for an incorrect result at Chester’s Friday evening fixture after a stewards’ enquiry.
The circumstances were, admittedly, a little obscure. Two horses dead-heated for third place, but the second horse was relegated by the Chester stewards to third place due to interference. The two horses which dead-heated were therefore split to be officially announced second and fourth.
However, the rules state that dead-heated horses should be treated as one entity unless there has been interference between them. As that wasn’t the case, they should have been announced as dead-heating for second place.
A subsequent investigation lead to the BHA correcting the result on Monday afternoon and offering an apology. Fair enough. But are we or are we not in an era where stewarding is operating at a professional level to avoid such mistakes?
But more important, was a qualification to the BHA’s apology appropriate? Their statement said:
“The BHA understands the impact this will have had on a limited number of bets and that some disruption may have been caused to both off and on-course operations and their customers, and we apologise for this.”
No qualification of the impact of the mistake should have been part of the apology. A mistake is a mistake. Don’t try to diminish the error when making the apology.
Boris’s turf turnaround
These scribblings don’t get involved in Westminster politics, unless they concern racing.
This is not exactly an exception but, with the voting taking place to elect a new leader of the Conservative Party and therefore the nation’s new PM, it was interesting to learn that when Boris Johnson became the editor of weekly Spectator magazine, one of the changes he wanted to bring about was to increase political content.
It therefore meant the weekly Turf column, written by the BBC’s former Political Editor, Robin Oakley, was to be scrapped.
Fortunately, readers of the Speccie were not impressed by the decision and made their displeasure known. Boris was forced into a turf-turnaround, albeit that the estimable Oakley’s column returned on a fortnightly basis.
This means that every other week yours truly can still catch up for a few minutes in WH Smith’s on Oakley’s Turf musings, before buying the New Statesman.