Modern technology wins day as timing system is tried out

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 September, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 September, 2000, 12:00am

A sectional timing system specially adapted for racing will go into operation on a trial basis in Hong Kong at the end of next month. It will be initially tested over 400 metres and then in turf trials, but the Jockey Club is not saying when it will be in operation on our two racecourses.

The system was not originally invented for racing but for other sports. However, its manufacturers have adapted it and if trials work out they could have a good market in two parts of Asia - Hong Kong and Japan.

It has been at least two years since the hunt for a suitable system began, but disappointments along the way have meant the continuation of a hand-held operation where two stop watches are used and then the race re-timed off television on the following Monday or Thursday.

Given the welter of modern technology around, it has always seemed a bizarre way of doing things and predictably there have been a number of glaring errors.

But all that should come to an end relatively soon, although director of racing Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges was not saying when. 'I'm afraid that I'm not going to make any predictions. I have been rather badly wrong before. Frankly, I just hope that it works because it would be an enormous help to our ordinary customers. Really, we are taking a stab into the next generation of racing,' he said.

Controversial claimer Roger Yu Kin-hung will face his date with Hong Kong racing destiny on October 10. Double Ten is an auspicious day in Chinese history, but it is not likely to be so for Yu who will appear before the Jockey Club's Licensing Committee on that date and almost certainly hear that his role in racing here is finished.

The Jockey Club announced yesterday for the benefit of its customers who stay at home and enjoy their racing on television that there has been an important change in scheduling for tomorrow's nine-event card at Sha Tin.

Normally transmitted on the Jade (Chinese) Channel with Nicam in English, it will be the other way around tomorrow because of Olympic coverage. So if you are staying in, tune to Pearl.

Claimer Patrick C. H. Tse has been ruled out until October 9 with a fractured right toe he suffered at Wednesday night's Happy Valley meeting.