There can be no doubting the Jockey Club's commitment to providing every scrap of information to its customers. The latest, the raceday weighing of horses, is to continue for another two months, if for no other reason than to provide data to allow proper study of the figures and their implications. And after a recent muddling-run event which had some punters, trainers and a few media representatives more than usually upset, it has been mooted that the Jockey Club is considering publishing speed maps to assist the public. Presumably this was going to overcome all confusion about which horse was going to be where in running and remove all the suspicion and bitterness generated by finding that the leader you backed is, in fact, last or vice versa. Going to the zoo is one thing, stepping into the lion's cage quite another, and providing 'official' maps would seem closer to the latter than the former, however good the intentions. Race 105, which prompted the remarks, featured the unlikely prospect of Winwin Combo, Quick Step, Wise Choice and Shining Gem one-two-three-four turning for home. If the Jockey Club's speed map forecast this then (a) it would have been a unique opinion, and (b) what in heck did their other maps on the day forecast? Speed maps are used by professional punters, and the stipendiary stewards, to give shape to expectations of racing positions. Why not give them to the public? Actually, there is no good reason, other than that of public interpretation. Professional race watchers recognise that maps are a guide, an opinion, and that would have to be the message conveyed to consumers. The instructions of trainers and owners, soundness and moods of horses, track bias and sheer phenomenological events once the gates open all play a part in the fluid chemistry of a race. But how will the public react when a favourite, box-seated on the map, is found midfield and wide? Will the jockey's head be demanded? On Sunday, punters may have backed Oriental Pearl believing that he would lead as he did winning at his debut. Where was he on the HKJC map? In defeat, punters may have felt aggrieved that his pattern altered. Had he been forecast to lead on the 'official' map, would punters have expected punishment for John Size or Dwayne Dunn for defying the forecast style without notice? Like the pre-race instructions issue, in the end it comes back to the expertise and integrity of the stewards, the professional public representatives in the judicial room. With or without maps, they make a judgment call on what was reasonable or unreasonable in the circumstances. Publishing pre-race maps which told a different story may call into question their acceptance of the post-race tale or have the public wondering why they bother with maps at all. Departures from expected patterns are frequent, often luck, often spur-of-the-moment choices made by jockeys paid to do just that. Providing maps is not far short of putting out a list of official tips. Send them out but be sure to impress on punters that they are an opinion, not some absolute truth.