Timeform commends the announcement today by the British Horseracing Authority of changes to jumps distance measurements, which will be implemented from June 1st 2015.
The move, which followed extensive representations and input from the Timeform organisation itself, properly recognises the importance of precise and accurate data to the sport’s participants and bettors alike.
The changes cover a remeasurement of existing distances and a different methodology for measurement in the first place.
Jumps courses will henceforth be measured along a line 2 yards from the inner rail – an approach which is already in use for Flat courses – when they were once measured along the mid-point of the respective chase or hurdle tracks. The latter methodology often bore little relation to the path which runners actually took and sometimes led to official race distances which were misleadingly long.
The changed methodology also complements the more traditional rounding of race distances to the nearest half-furlong with a to-the-yard “baseline”, taken from the shortest surveyed route, with any yardage additional to that route made explicit.
Comprehensive surveying of Britain’s jumps tracks has revealed 11 courses where starts are short of two miles, even after rounding, and will therefore require specific dispensation according to the Rules of Racing.
It also establishes that the baseline distance for the world’s most famous jumps race, the Grand National at Aintree, is 4m 2f and 74yds – formerly given as 4m abt 3½f – despite the start not having been moved.
Timeform was aware of many of these discrepancies and brought them to the attention of the authorities following an expose (and its follow-up) of inaccurate race distances at Wetherby in 2014.
The increased accuracy of race distances, not to mention the greater importance placed on accurate data by racing’s authorities, should mean that sophisticated time analysis will now be feasible over jumps for the first time. Those attempting this task previously have been stymied by inaccuracies in both historical and ongoing records.
As a result of the BHA’s welcome move, Timeform is announcing its intention to produce comprehensive jumps timefigures before the end of this year, confident for the first time in its long history that official distance data will be fit for the purpose.
Timeform also urges British racing to extend the remeasurement exercise to Flat racing. It was Timeform’s research early in 2014 which first highlighted inaccuracies in race distances on the all-weather track at Lingfield, which led to one distance being changed by 51 yards: that identifies that Flat courses may not be immune to this problem.
Still, the actions of the BHA – first under Paul Bittar and more recently under Nick Rust – are to be applauded. The situation should not have been allowed to exist whereby race distances were out, sometimes by a long way, but the problem has been addressed quickly and appropriately.
Let’s hope that this is a sign of things to come!
http://www.britishhorseracing.com/press ... om-1-june/
http://www.britishhorseracing.com/wp-co ... e-2015.pdf
Any comments on today's racing. Please don't just put in selections ... please add some reason why you think a runner will win
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