a permanent 2Gbit wireless network
In Clare Balding’s autobiography My Animals and Other Family she relates the story of her father, a renowned horse trainer, telling an owner after Mrs Thatcher’s 1979 election victory that “it’s going to take a while to get used to a woman running the country”. The horse owner was the queen of the United Kingdom, Elizabeth II. …
I can see bookies wanting to keep the details to themselves so that they can make more money. If I had accurate information about a horse's performance, I could spot slight errors in the odds given by the bookies, and therefore calculate lucrative tips. I suppose owners cannot make use of the data, because that would be akin to insider trading: ideas, anybody?
None of the above is very new.
Maybe this is down to canvassing BBC people, who no longer broadcast racing, but since Channel 4 got the rights to the Grand National, they've been using TurfTrax's RF-based local positioning system to generate speed/position data for most of the races they cover. This is used to power their Horse Tracker app (which launched in 2013) and on TV graphics. It's also used by the race courses (including Aintree and Cheltenham) to display big-screen graphics on sectional timings.
We didn't say it was new - just interesting.
Ah, so the data is already published. So owners can use it, as can anybody else. As for bookies giving odds, I was told 40 years ago that they make a slight loss if the favourite wins, but a profit otherwise: I expect that now they make sure they always make a profit, and that it is hard for me to make a profit out of them.
With horse tracker, we publish the data near-live to client devices, but in such a limited scope that it wouldn't give anyone an edge in betting. Sectional times, i.e. [time taken for horse a to travel between point x and y] are also published elsewhere for public consumption. These are more useful for betting, to someone who keeps track of respective horses' previous sectional times and can analyse differences to calculate whether a horse is likely to have conserved enough energy to win, etc.
Provision of these data is one part of the puzzle, another is analysis, and another is funding. Channel 4 have been paying for this as part of their innovation remit, but ultimately a bookie is the most likely audience for this tech, who can apply in-race analysis and calculate more realistic odds in real-time (what you said about making sure they make more of a profit).
(Disclosure: I was involved in the production of Channel 4 Horse Tracker app)
"Sectional times, i.e. [time taken for horse a to travel between point x and y] are also published elsewhere for public consumption. "
Don't mean to hijack this for my own purposes, but where are sectional times published? This kind of data, along with accurate finishing times for runner ups (this isn't widely published, we only get distance in lengths from next horse generally) would be gold dust to me.