Thursday night’s Speed Star is not only one of the most anticipated racing series on the greyhound racing calendar, it will also introduce technology that could potentially change greyhound racing forever.
In partnership with GPSports, the Canberra based leader in the competitive elite team sport analysis industry, the Sandown Greyhound Racing Club will fit a Global Positioning System to each runner in Thursday night’s Speed Star.
GPSports’ client lists includes the who’s who of international sports, including European soccer giants Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL, and QANTAS Wallabies. This is the company’s first foray into greyhound racing.
“This is the first time that GPSports has partnered with the greyhound industry and we’re looking forward to seeing how our technology can be applied,” said Damien Hawes, International Sales Manager for GPSports.
“The market for GPS tracking and technology within the sports industry has grown considerably in the past 15 years, with elite athlete training programs developed from data collected from the units.
“Coaches want to get the best out of their athletes at all times. Our units allow for every movement to be recorded, and the toll that movement has on an athlete’s body. Knowing when to push your athlete, and when to rest – ensure athletes avoid playing fatigued and decrease the risk of soft-tissue injury.
“It’s no different for greyhounds – with data collected trainers will be able to accurately determine top speed, maximum velocity, and range of other metrics and fine tune their training methods accordingly.”
Leading conditioner Robert Britton is one trainer who is eager to see what information the GPS can reveal.
“Absolutely I can see this technology being beneficial in greyhound training,” he said.
“Being able to compare acceleration, speed and where the dog tracks on the circuit in races and trials could become an important part of a trainer’s armoury.”
The unit weighs just 68g and is housed within a specially developed silicon pouch sewn into the racing vest. The unit sits comfortably between the greyhound’s shoulder blades and does not impact on the greyhound while running.
A number of greyhounds have trialled with the units and have been formally approved for use by Greyhound Racing Victoria stewards. According to the Sandown Greyhounds Racing Club’s Racing and Media Manager Mick Floyd, the response from all sectors of the industry has been extremely supportive.
“Every aspect of greyhound racing could benefit from such technology,” he explained.
“The ability to measure the speed, acceleration and deceleration of the greyhounds in the run, to be able to plot the greyhound’s position on the track at any point in the race, and the impact of interference is not only invaluable for owners and trainers, but also for anyone assessing form and for stewards on race day.
“Taken to its fullest extent, it could also potentially assist in track design and preparation. There really is no end to the practical uses for the technology.”
The club will broadcast each greyhound’s current speed during each match of Thursday night’s Speed Star series and will make further data and analysis available post event.
Rapidfire racing comes to Sandown Park this Thursday night with the running of the inaugural Speed Star! It’s greyhound racing like you’ve never seen before, click here for further details.
Discover more about GPSports here.
The Sandown Greyhound Racing Club would like to acknowledge the support of the team at GPSports for their assistance with this initiative, trainers Robert Britton, Jeff Britton, Andrea Dailly, Kel Greenough and Tom O’Donovan for allowing their greyhounds to trial with the units, and Lyndon Watt at Sherwood Sportswear in developing the racing vest.