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Thread: IDEAS on how we can improve Harness Racing

  1. #231
    Member Yearling Halwes will become famous soon enough
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    It is unfortunate that Harness Racing has it would seem cheats.
    When purses are lowish, and the sport isn't what is was years ago, temptation to 'earn' extra money is present. Mind you as my nana would say there is ( was then) lots of skulduggery going on at the Trots. Drivers whose turn it is not to win, can move to the rails and become trapped there without too much scrutiny. This hasn't changed a lot today. So bookmaker records can be reviewed, or tab records. But there are hidden bookies and all that takes resources to review all this, resources probably not sufficient to do much,
    and even if there is a possible issue, proof can be very difficult, and resources to pursue this are thin. So authorities probably look at things like dumb things done by dumb people. The Cobalt issue in racing industry took a long time to delve into. As I watch the Trots on video, unlike the past, they are quite good quality so placing stewards around the track has probably almost disappeared.

    I'm wondering whether mobile starts facilitate the cheating, you know 'it's not my turn tonight.. I'm second favourite and getting to the rails and getting trapped in, is not hard to do. In other words, money is made by backing other horses. I'm actually not a conspiracy theorist, I think it would be a rare thing, but the temptation is there. I guess if there is instead, doping going on, and this is becoming more common, that should be the focus. it's scientific , so if you are caught, you're done, proof isn't too hard, you'd think. So if that is pretty tight, you have to look at other issues, like handicapping. To make it more equal, that is to facilitate a greater opportunity for lesser horses to win races, therefore more money, reintro of standing start handicapping, is not only a great look, it will mean that lesser horses will win more races. Well,that's my intuition, and I'm not 'eating' harness racing
    like so many of you who have outstanding experience and knowledge of the sport. That doesn't mean you don't have mobiles, you reduce them a little initially, then reduce them more. You also have to give trainers good lead time to do this as it will take time for trainers to retrain their horses. Standing starts can also facilitate cheating but you tighten things up here and there to help. Much more importantly, big races should be handicaps so we can see how good a horse is to come from 10, 20, 30, 40. I hark back to my beloved Halwes who was so good, he'd win from anywhere, but was arresting to see horses winning in these handicaps, but sometimes no matter how good they were, they dont win...all this makes me want to go to the Trots particularly to watch handicapped horses in big races. At present, it's um ' same, same, same to go to the Trots.
    I recognise that standing starts need management by having stewards there to supervise all that. But I'd be first to put my hand up to be trained ( whs is always an issue but today people are more aware, you just choose wisely. I'd go into a roster, I'd also be happy to a manager of that ..All this means..' inclusion, something very much missing in many walks of life today. You also get more people at the Trots. However, you probably are aware I am very cynical about CEOs . They don't care, they say they listen, but I doubt any of them would ever consider what I have written here. Such a shame, as listening to others is so important. Responding though, it the real test for CEOs.. they don't
    Last edited by Halwes; 05-27-2020 at 02:22 PM.

  2. #232
    Super Moderator Stallion Messenger will become famous soon enough Messenger's Avatar
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    Stewards are still placed around the track Terry
    All the racing codes are about betting nowadays and that is the reason the standing start for pacers disappeared - people were upset if they did not get a run for their money

    With all today's technology I think we could have MOBILE HANDICAPS - maybe a little slower than at present but still faster than walk up starts

    Maybe keep the mobile barrier vehicle for the front line
    then you have those off the second line as the first level of handicap

    Then you can have a couple of other handicap distances at whatever handicap you wish 20m, 30m, 50m, ....
    These races would start in the home straight where we have a sprint lane
    These handicapped distances of say 20m and 40m would be paced/lined up by a noiseless electric scooter on the inside (who can then pull off easily into the spr lane)
    The scooter riders (possibly with a passenger so that one is concentrating on driving and the other on the horses) would be in communication with the front row starter/mobile vehicle and as is the case now the starter can issue instructions to numbers to move up or pull back. The harness drivers know that they cannot be ahead of their pacing scooter
    There would be technology that tells the scooter driver that he is the right distance from the front line (a set speed for the vehicles would of course help them get their distances right)

    What do you think?

    It would be interesting to see if front row drivers would learn to make use of their advantage. In pro Athletics and Cycling you will never see the frontmarkers make it easy for the backmarkers to eat up their handicap
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  3. #233
    Member Yearling Halwes will become famous soon enough
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    Thanks Kevin. I am still a standing start fan. It's great to see them get away from simply the standing position. I am memorised and very bored by watching mobile after mobile after mobile. I am talking from the viewpoint of what looks good. In theory you get
    a dead heat in handicaps. If done reasonably, every horse gets a chance to win, so I don't agree that punters would be too aggrieved. It is hard to come from say 30 or 40, but there is heightened excitement to see a handicapped horse win, and also see a lesser horse win too good for owners etc too.. I'm also advocating standing starts to mix things up. We used to have mix in standing starts and mobiles at the Melb. Showgrounds as I recall.. it was great viewing. And most importantly you'd hope that you will get more trainers , drivers and owners winning rather than a concentrated few, simply because coming from behind can create more difficulties. So to me it's firstly about the spectacle.. ie mobiles and starts from absolute stop . The punters just have to wear any issues, and as as I say, a handicap in theory should result in dead heats . The industry is simply just doing what they are used to.. mobiles.. they need to mix things up.

  4. #234
    Super Moderator Stallion Messenger will become famous soon enough Messenger's Avatar
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    I like stands and handicaps but if the powers that be are correct - it was costing us punters. Not really a punter anymore but do understand how it funds the industry and we have to compete with the dogs and the gallops where a runner rarely blows its chance at the start
    It would seem that you cannot say "The punters just have to wear any issues" for punters will look elsewhere they say.
    It was after the Hunter Cup in 2015 that it came to a head when the favourite Adore Me never got away. It was heavily pushed by some harness journalists but you have to imagine the uproar if the Melbourne Cup field was dispatched via a walk up start and the favourite didn't compete (it was pretty much the equivalent of that). Here is the race

    http://www.harness.org.au/racing/fie...15#MXM07021501

    ps Do you thinking a mobile handicap like I suggested in post 232 could work?
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  5. #235
    Member Yearling Halwes will become famous soon enough
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    Yes I do think it might work. It should be put to the authorities along with what I propose too. You know the virus raises what is possible when people meet and share ideas like great scientists do. That's what CEOs new norm should
    be. Roll up your sleeves, meet with people of passion and implement new things. That's the spirit. Invite people in, be inclusive. Great results can occur when you are inclusive. That's why we will get a vaccine more quickly for COVID-19 than we would have achieved years ago. People in leadership in all walks need to fully and openly and sincerely do that .

  6. #236
    Member Yearling Halwes will become famous soon enough
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    Yes looked at the race. It doesn't alter my opinion about what I say. Trainers certainly need to educate horses from day 1 of their lives. That's part of what harness racing is.
    as . ,To dismiss it is part of the problem of holding fixed views

  7. #237
    Senior Member Horse Of The Year gutwagon will become famous soon enough gutwagon's Avatar
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    Can't see a mobile handicap ever working with the current batch of drivers and starters that are ignoring the rules and allowing so much cheating as it is. We need about 25% of races to be standing starts just so we can fairly combine all the classes into a race. With our current small horse pool we need stands more than ever.
    Don't die wondering !

  8. #238
    Senior Member 4YO Mighty Atom will become famous soon enough Mighty Atom's Avatar
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    A horse that has been racing week after week in mobiles and then lined up in a stand expecting them to get away smoothly is very dicey. They have been educated to anticipate the start in mobiles and to get to the lead as fast as they can then expecting them to stand patiently waiting for the start is asking a little too much - it is not the horse's fault. There is nothing that irritates me more at the trots than to see horses galloping out or breaking in a race such as our useless trotters over here ( trotting races in WA should be banned unless all held behind a mobile and even then we have gallopers) We have one trotter that is faultless and nearly always ends up in the money at good prices.

    Many years ago before the introduction of mobile barriers at GP very few horses galloped out at the start it was a great spectacle I am not a fan of standing start races now and I'm sure the public isn't when a horse that they have backed cannot get away safely. Unless you have a very good stand horse don't nominate.
    Last edited by Mighty Atom; 05-28-2020 at 04:06 PM.

  9. #239
    Member Yearling Halwes will become famous soon enough
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    I did say that training for standing starts must/could begin as a horse is broken in, certainly to mix it in with it's learning, another one. I fear though that no one is really going to listen to me..they'll say "its too late to bring them back, horses broke or galloped too much so as punters they wouldn't accept it. I have seen quite a few horses breaking in mobiles too at present putting them out of the race. What I have noticed mostly though is that there are a large number of 1609 and 1720?? races...too many which are very short races so winning from the second row is harder. Many years ago the number of short races like 1609 could be counted on the fingers of one hand. I have to tell you that in my view, this significantly detracts from the racing spectacle. It is mesmorisingly boring. Watching the longer races is interesting. Scheduling standing starts ( after consultation ( and giving quite a lot if notice) makes these races very interesting . Remember I said mix it up. I also did not say ' introduce handicap standing starts overnight ' . But the authorities can approach drivers about all this . But remember that the trainers are not the only people to satisify. It's the people. The knockers often get entrenched in their views and I am sure that the overriding thought would be , " crowds wont come back" and ' we get funding mainly from the tab etc so I couldn't care what a racegoer thinks" BTW once upon a time, the miracle mile was a big spectacle, they are just another race now. In my strong view, the spectacle is so cloned, so process driven. They have got it very wrong.They'll get me and my friends returning if they do what I suggest. Even more significantly, standing starts add skill, horsemanship to the spectacle. Isn't that what we want.. I have seen in a number of posts criticism of drivers... so won't what I suggest change that somewhat. To present your own unique 'product' also called in marketing terms " product differentiation" That in short means having a different product to show .
    I must admit that after I read Rod's comment above, I really felt disillusioned. I hope you at least reflect on everything I say here.
    Last edited by Halwes; 06-01-2020 at 03:04 AM.

  10. #240
    Super Moderator Stallion Messenger will become famous soon enough Messenger's Avatar
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    Rod may be right Terry
    1609m dominance was IMO all about the fascination of posting fast times (to go on a horse's record), copying of the North American scene, and competing with the gallops and dogs codes who's races take less time (for broadcasting). Not that I can see how that is really relevant with the gallops as they take forever to get them in the barriers but then again they are the dominant code and the time generally goes hand in hand with previewing their race - something they don't really do for us.
    A huge number of people would agree with you about continuous mile racing being boring but I cannot agree that the MM is just another race now (although I have said that it often falls flat and IMO that is due to it being a mile)

    The people they need to get interested are also the young. I have rarely got to Melton and have only been to Menangle for one big night but I think they are endeavoring to attract families from their regions - I wouldn't know their crowd breakdowns. Some believe that where these 'metro' tracks are located is a big problem. The off track offering needs to compliment the racing as competition for the entertainment dollar is red hot nowadays. Time between races has to be utilized or reduced. Us oldies who used to be happy dashing up the concrete steps at the Showgrounds now want a good meal and a comfy seat . In this regard I can recommend a couple of tracks such as Ballarat. It has been along decades since I have been to Bendigo and Shepparton and must get there to see how they stack up nowadays.

    You, I and everybody cannot be disillusioned by people who disagree as we don't know it all
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