Technology has touched every part of our lives, changing how athletes train, how we watch sports, and how referees officiate. Horse racing is no different; the sport has benefited substantially from technological advances over the past decades. While horse racing has maintained many of its roots and traditions, such as races in Cheltenham and Ascot, technology has changed many aspects of the sport.
Photo finishes are one of the biggest ways technology has changed horse racing. Close finishes are common in horse racing, so it's often difficult to determine with the naked eye. Given that betting is an integral part of the horse racing experience at events such as the Cheltenham Festival, advances in technology like one-dimensional array sensors allow results to be posted almost immediately.
As a result, fans know if their favorite won. Checking the Cheltenham betting odds is another way to keep up to date on horse racing favorites and see how they stack up against the competition. With photo-finish technology, there won't be any delayed results on race day.
Horse racing is popular in the UK, ranking second only to football as the country's most popular spectator sport. Safety probably isn't on the minds of most fans when they attend a horse race but protecting the jockey and horse is always a priority.
Technology has improved horse safety both on and off the race track. Overheating is an ever-present risk during horse races that can harm a horse's health. Thermal imaging cameras on the race track allow vets to reliably check the temperature of horses post-race, ensuring they cool down properly. This technology has helped reduce horse fatalities by about 30% over the past several years.
Helping horses see fences sooner is another way technology has improved the safety of horses, reducing the number of fallers in big races like the Grand National and the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Technology has also been used to design courses in the best way possible to keep jockeys and horses safe.
Improved Data Collection
If we look back at the history of horse racing in the UK, the sport hasn't always placed a great emphasis on data. However, technology has changed that, with horse racing increasingly becoming a data-driven sport. Trainers and fans use weather forecasts to help them predict track conditions and likely outcomes of races days in advance, leading to greater accuracy in training and reporting on the sport.
Moreover, tracking technology has made post-match analytics more detailed than in the past. All of this data has allowed trainers to improve the conditioning of horses and fans to make educated decisions when determining which horse has the best chance of winning a race.
Technology has also made it possible to identify up-and-coming jockeys by compiling race data to determine which jockeys are performing best. The data has also led to a better understanding of race tactics and the best way to jump fences.
The introduction of high-quality broadcasting equipment ensures that fans who can't attend races don't miss a moment of the action. Broadcasters use technology to bring fans up to the minute information on how horses and jockeys are performing throughout the race, and trainers use footage captured during the race to help jockeys and horses improve their performance.
Apart from broadcasters, streaming has revolutionized how many people watch horse races worldwide. Not everyone can travel hundreds or thousands of miles to watch the biggest races live, but streaming technology allows them to tune into the races from wherever they are in the world, helping to improve the sport's popularity.