David Polkinghorne July 27, 2012
Bel Edition co-owner Artie Laing has called for the racing industry to improve its photo-finish technology after it took 55 minutes to declare a winner at Thoroughbred Park last Friday.
But Racing NSW said its FinishLynx system was ''best practice''.
Laing's horse was declared equal first in a dead heat with Rules Point in the class 1 handicap (1206 metres) in Canberra, but upon appeal the race was awarded to Rules Point.
Laing said he had no problem with the result, but he thought it took too long to come to the correct decision.
His main concern was if this had happened in an earlier race, it would have delayed the day's remaining races.
''They don't seem to have the technology available in a multi-million-dollar industry that's afforded to other sports,'' Laing told The Canberra Times yesterday.
''I'll give you an example. The Olympics start this weekend, do you think there's going to be a guy at the bottom of the pool taking photos to try and determine whose hand touches the wall first?
''No - and they've got a clear system that takes three seconds to determine what the places are.
''They don't have that in the racing industry, they're still taking photos and having a guy sit there looking at them to determine a winner.''
Laing thought racing could learn from other sports, like athletics, which has similar finishes.
The FinishLynx system produces a computer image of what happens at the finishing post, giving the relative position of all runners as they cross the line. A judge then looks at the image to determine a horse's place.
It can give a time accuracy of up to one ten-thousandth of a second.
Athletics Australia uses a similar system, which is designed by Omega and is used at the Olympic Games.
It isn't as accurate - to just one-thousandth of a second.
Racing NSW deputy chairman of stewards Marc van Gestel said its system was able to differentiate minuscule margins when used with a high-resolution screen, like the one in the judge's box at Thoroughbred Park.
He said it was an unfortunate error by judge Sean Farrar, but the correct decision was eventually reached after the stewards were brought in.
Van Gestel said the length of time taken to come to a decision was to provide all parties with ''natural justice''. He said the industry was always open to introducing better technology, but felt it already had the best available.
''It's high-definition graphics, it's able to determine minuscule margins and in our view we think it is best practice,'' van Gestel said. ''While we're always open to embrace new technology, the industry is not aware of any … that exists that may be better for the industry.''