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High-tect goggles turn heads

While former New Zealand – trained galloper Werther is the punters elect to win Sunday’s HKS20 million Group 1 Audermars Piquet Queen Elizabeth 11 Cup over 2000 metres, it is the Japanese raider, Neorealism, that is turning heads during track work at Sha Tin.

The last start winner of the Group 2 Nakayama has looked well in cantering work, attracting more than the usual attention as track rider, Shinjiro Kaneko’s, goggles were adorned with what appeared to be a camera like device.

In fact it was more than just a camera, but also a monitor, manufactured by Horsecall Japan, it is sold as an aid to training, it displays heart rate and speed, Adam Harrigan, consultant and interpreter for trainer Noriyuki Hori explained.

The monitor which the rider can see, displays the horse’s heart rate and track work times for each 200 metres split, it’s new Japanese technology and Hori is not the only trainer to use it, he has certainly been among the first, said Harrigan.

Its valuable obviously for the rider to know exactly how fast the horse is travelling, and to have an indicator of how much the horse is exerting himself, and of course Hori is able to download and evaluate the data at home in Japan.

The heart rate data is recorded via pads inserted in the girth strap, while the camera attachment is fitted with GPS and the data is displayed in a small monitor attached to the rider’s eyewear.

“I can see the data as I am riding the horse, this equipment is now used with all the horses in the Hori stable, “said Kaneko.

Similar technology was used with the champion Japanese horse, Orfevre, who was runner up in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2012 and 2013.

Harrigan said, “the device is becoming an important training tool, in a sense it’s an extension of measuring lactates and heart rates via horses working on treadmills, which has been commonplace for some time, this is just more sophisticated and allows the trainer to tailor work specifically to individual horses, based on the heart rate data,” he added.


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