Racing NSW unveils Punters Intel, a data trove for punters

Tristan Rayner Editor

By , Tristan Rayner is a Roar Editor

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    There's some good value at Randwick this weekend. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)

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    Racing NSW has unveiled a new app for punters, offering detailed racing data including race times, sectionals, speeds, positioning, and distance travelled for horses in races.

    Some 22 tracks across New South Wales have been equipped with Swiss Timing Horse Positioning System technology, which work to track devices contained in each horse’s saddlecloth to give a high level of precision information.

    The data is available via an app called Punters Intel, a free download, and is available on most devices: iOS, Android, PC and Mac are all covered.

    “Punters Intel is a game-changer and provides the ultimate tool to access vital information of a horse’s performance and view dynamic 3D simulated replays of the race, control camera angles, speed and playback options as well as select data to be viewed throughout the race itself,” said Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys AM.

    So, what of the app? Well, we’re impressed. It’s early days but Punters Intel provides new insights given the breadth of data available. While many punters are familiar with tracking times for horses, including best last 600m sectionals, and are able to compare race times on a given day, this is the next level. The days of hand-timing or guessing approximates is over.

    One example provided is how Punters Intel data shows breakdowns of speed and stamina that you would otherwise miss.

    Chautauqua’s final 200m in the 2017 TJ Smith (11.95s) was a full second faster than second-placed English (12.96s), something the eye can confirm in that fantastic finish from earlier in the year:

    What might surprise is that, according to the data, Chautauqua’s top speed at any one point in that race (66.5km/h) was the slowest of any runner in the field, including the last placed Terravista. This is compared to the fastest top speeds recorded in the race, from Russian Revolution (70.8km/h) and Fell Swoop (69.6km/h), who missed out.

    Sectionals can now go from a professional punter tool, where the best data was only available via paid subscriptions, to something everyone can have.

    Knowing how to use the sectionals will be the next challenge for many, including this punter. It’s time to get modern!

    A good place to start is to use them across a single meeting, lining up what was a good performance against the comparable races on the day. Roarer BrisburghPhil has been comparing the likes of three-year-old performances to older horses for years to find up-and-comers. Punters Intel should help make this easier.

    Sectionals can also help uncover what looked visually like a plain run to something a little better. That data helps when it comes to deciding if you think a horse can go through the grades, or will need to improve markedly to get out of their benchmark.

    It’s about five steps forward and half a step back for punters. There are a few technical issues: the apps themselves are easy enough to use, although downloading races is a little fiddly and can be slow, and there seems to be the odd bug. Some races are missing. The manual mentions this as a possibility for slow data transmissions, or if manual checking is required of the data set.

    Something I can’t figure out is the Warwick Stakes, where Winx is missing from the data, giving the win to Foxplay over Ecuador.

    Update: Racing NSW got in touch via Twitter to explain Winx busted her device!

    The apps are also made via the cross-platform programme Unity engine, which offers more simple development by Racing NSW but means a large download size – around 189MB on Android, and some 594MB on iOS devices, which is a considerable amount of room. The PC download is a smaller 100MB.

    I’d also dearly like to see data exports from the app, allowing punters to plug data from the app into CSVs for Excel or similar.

    It’s not quite the ‘ultimate tool’ just yet, but this is day one for a new and free offering that’s sure to keep improving. What do you think, punters?

    Tristan Rayner
    Tristan Rayner

    Tristan is a writer, consultant, racing enthusiast and former Editor of The Roar who has turned the Melbourne Cup into a year-round study via racingtalk.com.au.