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Thread: Staggered starts

  1. #1
    Junior Member Weanling JanellePeter will become famous soon enough JanellePeter's Avatar
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    Staggered starts

    Just reading the weights thread and though I would throw this one in for giving horses more even chances in races. As an analyser we are always thinking of ways to make this fairer. The distance each horse has to run in a race can vary significantly and must be allowed for.
    Like an 800m running race mobile and standing starts should be done staggered and remain in lanes for the first bend. Outer horses would start ahead of inner ones. On a track with 7 on the front row they would all be staggered. On the average 800m circumference the stagger distance is roughly 4-5m per m out from the inside. It will be different for each track. The mobile vehicle could be modified to provide the stagger or just have a motorbike lead up the outside horse and make other lanes stay at the head of the driver of the horse in the lane outside.

    Horses on the second row would still be at an initial disadvantage but they could be allow to overtake on the outside for the first straight and bend. I would love to see this trialled somewhere.
    Lanes can setup in a variety of ways but the simplest would be to rake a small groove when smoothing the track.
    The advantage is that the front row get equal opportunity to lead the race without the outside horses needing to use more energy to do so. They also would have more time to find their positions as the don't need to move in until the first bend finishes. It would be a point of difference in the racing and would make it an interesting start to watch. Like watching the 200m at the Olympics, you won't know who is going to lead the race until the end of the first bend.
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Horse Of The Year arlington will become famous soon enough
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    Lanes on a bend at speed, not sure how practical with horses, especially horses with sulkies J&P.

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  4. #4
    Senior Member Horse Of The Year Dot will become famous soon enough
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    Putting out ideas should is always welcomed JP but this one definately doesn’t take into account the difficulties of enlisting the complete cooperation of a 500kg animal with at times very much a mind of its own. That’s not to say there is no way of doing staggered starts but one that requires absolute accuracy in maintaining the radius of turn, ie staying in your lane marked only by a scratch on the ground ( lane width not withstanding) and maintaining an exact multiple of distance between each competitor at start point seems very unattainable.

    Have you per chance watched the walk up starts recently in QLD when the mobile was out of action? That may give you some insight into the difficulties.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Weanling JanellePeter will become famous soon enough JanellePeter's Avatar
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    Thanks for feedback and I do appreciate the difficulty in achieve what I proposed. Its probably a bit out there but I am a believer in trying new ideas, understanding the shortcomings and improving. I am sure when they starting using rolling starts they had to figure it all out too. I do watch every race and I did see the walk up starts and the % breaks was significantly increased. The horses obviously are not used to doing this. Mind you it's no worse than any standing start trot race where you have greater than 30% chance of the horse breaking/galloping/not finishing but the industry still persists with this racing.
    A mobile gate could be build to cater for staggered starts if the idea became reality and it would take practice. Lanes could be more permanent and would need to be easily identifiable for the drivers. The horses seem to run around the bends in the track ok at the moment and they seem to do it in lanes (1wide, 2wide etc) so why is it more of a problem getting them to run a bend of greater diameter. They wouldn't be all bunched together at the start so I though it may decrease start interference.
    The end result would be a fairer start and that it why I thought it might be worth considering.
    Note my on-track experience is NIL so excuse my ignorance of the real issues you are raising but I live for the too hard basket. Civil Engineer by trade. I problem solve all day.
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  6. #6
    Super Moderator Horse Of The Year teecee has a spectacular aura about teecee's Avatar
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    Reasons this idea may work...1 Overcoming the reasons it wouldn't work.
    Reasons it wouldn't work presuming it is an attempt to have all the horses running the same distance of a race.
    1. the construction and operation of a barrier catering for such a situation would need to be exclusive to the race distances run at each individual track.
    2 A horse running a 200 metre bend from gate 2 will run between 5 and 10 metres more than that in gate one and so on across the track. This is then multiplied from each barrier position outwards then gain by the number of turns the horses make in a race....variable...
    3. THe angle of the barrier to cater for the space needed in each position would be that determined by the hypotenuse of the triangle making up that angle.
    When you take into account all positions across the gate (say 7) you end up with a much longer length gate unbalanced by the placement of the barrier load behind a vehicle travelling around bends at min 42km/h. The arms would need to be so long that a real possibility of touching the track creating the vehicle to spin around. Have you ever seen a mibile vehicle do a 180 when the tip of the barrier grounds. It's not a pleasant site.!!!
    When the start is reached and the arms fold up the circle created by its length the inside arm is quite considerable.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Horse Of The Year Dot will become famous soon enough
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    And there I was Teecee just thinking you were going to say there is a way to do staggered starts, their called standing starts, very common in NZ......

    I guess you could move them to a bend

  8. #8
    Junior Member Weanling JanellePeter will become famous soon enough JanellePeter's Avatar
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    Thanks teecee. Good points.
    1. Yes the starting device would absolutely need to suit different tracks and distances. A starting device would therefore need to be designed to be adjustable.
    2. I suggest the staggered start could only cater for the first bend if a mobile device was to be used for starts. This would give time for horse to find positions based on their early speed.
    3. You can't limit your thoughts of what a starting gate already looks like. Let's pretend the current mobile device didn't exist and you wanted to do a staggered start. It couldn't be like the current setup for the reasons you described. My thoughts were of a long straight structural member towed directly behind a vehicle on the inside of the track with light weight perpendicular arms of different lengths protruding. When the starter releases the horses the arms would fold up into the air. As noted in 1, the arm positions would have to be adjustable along the structural member. There is a benefit in this method. There would be no vehicle in front of the horses.
    There are still a lot more questions to be answered but I would love to see it trialled somewhere to understand other shortcomings and perhaps solve them.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Horse Of The Year Dot will become famous soon enough
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    My first thought JP was how does a ‘long straight structural member” of sufficient length get round the bend? How many tracks would have sufficient radius of turn to get round the bend?

    My second thought is what happens if one of the horses positioned near the front of the device gallops what happens? They have to be restrained back to gait, how does the driver not get struck by the following arm?

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Horse Of The Year teecee has a spectacular aura about teecee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dot View Post
    And there I was Teecee just thinking you were going to say there is a way to do staggered starts, their called standing starts, very common in NZ......

    I guess you could move them to a bend
    We do have a couple of starts over the mile at Addington. 50 metres before the home bend.
    That's why this years Jewels are over 1980 metres. No one was game to ruin our showplace event by going the mile.

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