Patrick Cummings - Trakus
Patrick Cummings - Trakus

Click above to watch interview with Patrick Cummings at the Investec Stallion Day… starts at 6:42 after Vodacom Durban July Insert

(Image and Footage : Andrew Bon)


School Of Management Excellence

Summerhill Stud, South Africa

One of horseracing’s biggest challenges is to attract new fans and one way is through technology, according to Boston-based Patrick Cummings writes Nicci Garner for Tab News. Cummings gave an absorbing talk at the School Of Management Excellence’s Winter Workshop at Summerhill Stud in Mooi River on Monday.

Cummings is a horseracing expert, who has covered the Dubai World Cup Carnival since 2007 on his popular website Dubai Race Night and is also Director of Racing Information for Trakus, which provides full-field in-race tracking and real-time information to racetrack operators worldwide.

Cummings believes that, although horseracing is one of the most visually appealing sports, it battles to attract new fans because it is so difficult to differentiate one horse from another during a race. High-definition broadcasts are helpful, but the Trakus technology is better, according to Cummings because “a commentator can only call one horse at a time”.

Trakus uses a wireless radio frequency system with small radio antennas positioned around the racetrack. Small tags are placed into saddlecloths and data about a horse’s location is broadcast numerous times a second. South African punters will be familiar with the Trakus system through watching horseracing in Dubai and Singapore, where dynamic leaderboards relay the position of a horse while a race is being run.

Even more data is captured through the system, like individual sectional times, distance covered per segment, the horse’s distance from the rail, cumulative times and peak speeds.

“Racing is an extremely data-rich sport, but until now so much of the game is learned and instinctual and not factual,” said Cummings, giving examples of how wrong perceptions can be.

Cummings is currently in South Africa as a guest of champion trainer Mike de Kock.

Summerhill Stud holds it School of Management Excellence Winter Workshop annually and experts in various fields give talks on their field of expertise. Other international keynote speakers at Day 1 of the two-day workshop were Tom Magnier from Coolmore Australia and Chauncey Morris, the CEO of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia. Interesting talks by Investec Strategist and Economist Prof Brian Kantor, Michael Vincent, director of Strategy and Innovation Deloitte Consulting, well-known racing and sports commentator Neil Andrews and bloodstock expert Jehan Malherbe were also enjoyed by the 100-plus people who enrolled at the Winter Workshop.

Extract from Tab Online