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Technology Overkill

NZ Harness Trainers & Drivers Assn
Published by Pete Cook in News · 25 January 2019
I know I’m going to be accused of being a fossil (not for the first time), and of criticising progress, but I reckon that, in our industry, there is a certain amount of technology for technology’s sake creeping in that is simply unnecessary, and waste of money that we can’t afford.
For instance, the recently introduced ‘innovations’ that sometimes appear on screen during races at Addington. Not only do we have graphic notifications (that are often wrong anyway) of the first three placings and what they are paying – and I can accept there is some value there – but we now have under those, an indication of what horses are running fourth, fifth and sixth. Is that really necessary, for heaven’s sake? I’m one of those old fashioned buggers who like to actually watch the horses go round, and I get very testy when, because of this extra information, the graphics quite often cover some of them up during a race.
And then, just to get my dander up even further, they have another graphic stuck in the top right hand corner showing how fast the horses are going and the sectionals (the latter very often at odds with the ones that Mark Mac reads out). If there is anyone out there who can tell me the value of knowing how many kilometres an hour a horse is travelling at a certain part of a race, I’m dying to hear it, because it’s completely lost on me!
While I’m on a roll, another thing I would put in the category of useless marketing ploys, would be the coloured and/or patterned horse numbers which seem to be the in-thing up North. I normally go by colours so it doesn’t really affect my viewing, but surely anyone in their right mind can see that trying to pick up numbers against a striped background, or a blue number on a green background for instance, is almost impossible. I don’t take much notice of the greyhound code, but I know they have certain colours for certain numbers, and I presume this is some ill-conceived attempt to copy that. Trouble is that, for a start, much of the saddlecloth is covered by the sulky shaft, and even those who know the colour code used
on the dogs might be able to identify one to eight, but what happens after that?
Has anyone seen a guide to what colours saddlecloths 9 – 15 or higher wear? It might be in the racebook, I don’t know, but that’s not much help for off-course viewers. What is wrong with dark coloured numbers on a white background or vice versa? They stand out like dog’s unmentionables – isn’t that the whole point?
Pete Cook

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