Like many sports, horse racing has been quick to welcome and use the latest technology to enhance the viewing experience in the sport. Although many spectators enjoy attending a race day, the sport is predominantly consumed on television, therefore, technology is very important to ensure all the action is captured.
Here is a look at how technology has helped improve the sport over the last few years.
Slow Motion Cameras On Winning Line
The most important part of a horse race is, of course, the finish. It is vital that the judges and those watching at home are able to determine which horse has won the contest and the subsequent finishing positions behind the winner. In 2020 the sport introduced super slow-motion HD cameras to many racecourses in the UK which have been a huge success.
They were particularly helpful in the Cheltenham races results at the 2020 Festival when there were many close finishes. The viewer was able to clearly see which horse had won in a tight finish, while the quality of this footage was much better than the black and white photo that was previously used.
In addition to being able to name the winner with high precision, these HD cameras produce some spectacular pictures as the horses cross the line. They really do help you admire and appreciate how amazing these animals are in the sport.
Some television companies have added jockey cameras to their coverage in big race events. These can be fascinating to follow as they give you the perspective of the rider as they approach a fence or hit full speed on their horse.
The Grand National at Aintree is the most famous steeplechase in the world and jockey cams were used in the 2019 renewal of the race which was won by Tiger Roll. These cameras, which are attached to a jockey’s helmet, capture much more than a wide shot would be able to pick up and allow spectators a greater sense of immersion into the race.
We could see something similar used in a lot of sports in 2021. For example, it would be great for a camera to be on a bowler as they approach the crease in cricket, or a running back in the NFL as they weave their way through the opposition towards the end zone.
Microchips To Identify Horses
Logistically, it is no easy process for racecourses to look after hundreds of horses on the day of a meeting. In order for each horse to be identified correctly, they carry a microchip. These are then scanned at various points of the racecourse to avoid mistaken identity.
The microchips carry a lot of information about the horse, including their age, colour, owner, trainer, and what sex it is. Prior to the use of this chip, there were occasions where human error had occurred and the wrong horses had been saddled in a race.
With more technology being developed for use in sport, it is going to be interesting to see what the next introduction will be to horse racing.