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Sectional Times Policy

Harness & Greyhounds
This haphazardly applied and hardly justifiable policy, which is a tax on owners of slow horses, is starting to unravel. Some get fined, some don't, some tracks it is applied, some tracks it isn't, weather and wind sometimes is taken into account, slow sections within lead times get ignored, a quarter of 35.2 (a mile rate of 2.20.8) results in a "talking to"?, low class horses (and I say that without offense, I have owned plenty) are particularly vulnerable as per 4 driver fines at Bunbury last Friday at an "R" meeting.

Owners ask their drivers to drive their horse to finish in its best possible placing, Ryan Warwick did that perfectly on Friday night with Our Sequel, I doubt it could have won without an easy section, yet the driver (owner?) gets fined. I won a race at GP with a particularly ordinary horse, one much derided......the drive was magnificent, it included a slow quarter without which the horse could not possibly have won. I was delighted, the driver got fined, it was a low staked race.....I gratefully paid the "tax''. What other sport do we tie a rope around the leg of our star performers and fine them for excellence? By all means, if they go so slow or slow the pace excessively causing problems back in the filed or similar, then most definitely apply sanctions but in it's current form, this policy is in my view a blight on the industry.


  • PictureSon1973PictureSon1973    92 posts
    Jay Jay would each class / ratings have a predetermined minimum sectional time
    Doesn’t exist but per say a ,
    CO minimal allowed sectional 32 Seconds
    Fast Class minimal allowed sectional 30 Seconds
    Is there a table explaining what is mininimum sectional allowed for each class of horse ?
    Maybe the Stewards can take turns as a Pacemaker up front leading the field
    be worth it for entertainment value alone .
  • JayJayJayJay    6,529 posts
    edited October 26
    I can see where you are coming from....and I believe I have seen some stewards reports which have taken the class of horse into account ...but there is no  differentiation in the official policy for class of horse and no table that I have seen. ....or wind assistance ....or whether the track has been resurfaced .....or whether it is hand timed or digitally timed or...whatever. It is so arbitrary and subject to whoever is making the call on the night.....but I think that just on principle alone, any attempt to improve it would be akin to putting make-up on a bovine. You can't shackle the ability of the driver to ensure the best possible finish and return for the owner. Owners copped it in the neck with the 20% stake reduction due to Covid.....when we are told that turnover actually increased, no sign of that money being returned to owners who still had to pay full rates, the trainers didn't reduce their fees by 20% (and nor should they have), I believe drivers still got paid their full fee.....and in many cases, the fine is a further "tax" on the fairly minimalist stake that a low class horse earns.  I can't think of a reason to justify the policy when rules are already in existence for stewards to invoke if there is a breach which causes undue interference or disruption to a race due to extremely slow sectionals or abrupt slowing.
  • JayJayJayJay    6,529 posts
    Classic example of why this policy should be terminated. Race 2, Euston Flyer lead time 40.0 seconds, first quarter in 31.5......slow lead time contributes greatly to his win? Skillful drive. No SS for a very slow lead time.

    Race 8 Cohlin wins but a SS (Slow Sectional) annotation on Go Widgie for a 33.0 first quarter after a 38.8 lead time. Go Widgie runs 4th, at least it earns something albeit beaten 14 metres. If it goes faster over the first quarter when it was NOT challenged at all, and thus avoids a dreaded SS, does it finish fourth (earning $550) or does it finished further back and earn $150?

    Be interested to see if a fine is issued when the stewards report on the race. I mean the whole concept just doesn't add up in my opinion.
  • MarkovinaMarkovina    1,831 posts
    Just my view on it 

    It is a very hard rule to police - and i can understand the frustration - especially people paying the fines

    However it is a bit like standing starts - in that if 99% of them stepped at the start - then there would be no need for the Mobile barrier 

    And that is the thing with the slow sectionals - if you didnt have the rule   Aust wide - then you would have alot of 66-67  halves - especially in the country - if you got the lead - just walk them - why go any quicker - go as slow as possible and then dash home 

    And that is why they brought in the rule - so as a viewer/punter i like the rule - however im not paying the fines/bills  

    Just on rules ( or non rules ) one thing that really pisssses me off  - is drivers in mobile starts - who are not up on the gate - they lag back then fly the start - i think that is totally  unfair on the other participants  - and that deserves a fine 

    The Geelong Pacing Cup was a prime example- i wasnt financially invested in the race  - the no 1 horse - odds on favourite - Anthony Butt  in the sulky - he did exactly that - i think it is unfair - i dont think it is a clever - and as a result i was so happy to see his horse get beat
  • G-MacG-Mac    1,369 posts
    As an owner of several slow pacers (and one trotter) in my time I yearn for a 35 second first quarter when in he lead. I had a decent one in Victoria that could rattle home in 54 if she was allowed to lead in a 62 first half. That rarely happens so she rarely won. 

    The focus shouldn't be on the time run by the leader, it should be on the lack of pressure from others in the race and why they didn't go forward. 

    JayJay likes this post.

  • curmudgeoncurmudgeon    2,077 posts
    Sectional times are often slowest in evenly graded races. Nobody wants to surrender the chance of a podium finish by burning the wick mid race.
    Races with the most tempo are generally those where the best horse/s draw badly but because of the class differential they are able to be "put into the race".
    One size doesn't fit all in terms of minimum sectionals & never will.

  • BetonmeBetonme    192 posts
    I could be wrong, but I thought it was introduced as a safety measure to help with the incidence of horses choking down back in the field. 
  • JayJayJayJay    6,529 posts
    Report is out....driver of Go Widgie gets fined $100 for ensuring the best possible finish (4th) for owners and earns $550 for them after running a reasonable lead time and then a 33.0 second first quarter.  Had the driver gone 32.0 seconds or under, every likeleehood the horse drops out and earns $150. As it stands, if the fine is paid by the driver, their $70 driving fee and the $27.50 drivers percentage (5% of $550) leaves the driver $2.50 out of pocket. Someone please explain the sense of this to me.
  • sonnysonny    817 posts
    There is no sense..I wonder if Matt can get the stewards or a steward and put these questions to them.. Great listening when the double talk and dribble..(bit harsh) but it would be interesting..

  • JayJayJayJay    6,529 posts
    Good thought but I suspect it is very long odds....I did hear, maybe wrongly, that Junior had appealed against one of his fines but that was fair while back and I haven't seen or read any outcome.
  • freodockersfreodockers    1,339 posts
    If you can’t run the first Qtr in 32 and remain competitive then don’t lead.
    Understand there are horses that can’t do so but the drivers knows full what they are doing.
    Yes it is impossible to negotiate the different circumstances but I prefer the rule from a betting/viewing point of view.
    Maybe it should be applied to GP only and from a certain grade up.
    Important to remember a qtr a GP in 32 is a Qtr in 34 on any other track.
  • JayJayJayJay    6,529 posts
    Freo, Go Widgie was the even money favourite, it drew gate 1, if it hands up, conspiracy theorists chanting "cheats on seats" would march to Parliament House and demand beheadings. Hell, one of the 7 patrons on course might even mumble some minor discontent but maybe not. Patrons on course are a terrible nuisance these days. Having held up, nothing came near it for the first quarter, no challenges within 3 lengths. What is the driver supposed to do, race 3 or 4 lengths in front and be subject to accusations of over driving?

    sonny likes this post.

  • sonnysonny    817 posts
    We are all punters.. Love it when you back something that you know will lead and run a slow quarter. 
  • JayJayJayJay    6,529 posts
    Juniors appeal result....$100 fine reduced to $50 for a 32.1 quarter HAND TIMED from the tower at Pinjarra, 100's of metres away from the actual distance marker pole. Sounds completely fair to me.
  • JayJayJayJay    6,529 posts
    Just read the Racing Appeal determination more closely. Despite the time being, well at least, slightly suspect.....being timed from a tower 200 metres from the marker pole, the appeals tribunal have no power to alter the time or disregard the time once the stewards have declared the time to be "official'. Therefore, any suggestion put forward by Junior that a 32.1 determination, 0.1 second outside the rule, was maybe not 100% accurate, the tribunal cannot rule against the time because the stewards have determined that it is accurate beyond reproach because they have accepted it as the "official time". As I say, sounds totally fair to me!!!!!!
  • MarkovinaMarkovina    1,831 posts
    Just whipped through the stewards reports non WA  - last 10 days - about 30 odd meetings - down the bottom they have the summary/actions/fines etc 

    5 fines in total re slow sectional 

    2 at Bendigo in the one night  32.3 and 32.6 2nd qtr in a mile race - Well i think that deserves a fine

    2 at Hobart at the one meeting - both leaders didnt break 65 seconds in 2100 metre races - again from a punting/viewing aspect they can cop the $100 fine

    1 at Young - Jackson Painting very experinced driver 67 seconds 2100 met race at Young - again i dont want to see that - so he can cop the fine $100 

    Those 5 who got pinged - thats why i think you have got the rule

    freodockers likes this post.

  • JayJayJayJay    6,529 posts
    Probably correct Marko but they already have existing rules to deal with the above cases you highlight.... but by setting arbitrary standards, which they may or may not stick to, combined with manual timing by very well intentioned local club officials from 200m away, it manifests itself as lazy discriminatory policy. We all know why it was introduced in the first place .......and it was not aimed at some battler trying to win a race for a long suffering owner by being 0.1 of a second outside a predetermined standard.
  • savethegamesavethegame    2,266 posts
    Kalgoorlie forget what year broke three different records in first couple meetings they just put pegs with a post hole digger within reason to the ones they lost when they added fines for the track. Even  Northam hate to be timekeeper there seems the second last quarter huge % of the races is quicker then last quarter.you would have to run along side them to get it right regards  split second stuff  'Think panda mentioned that as well previously regards Northam.------  so trying to ping someone for a slow section ?
  • PictureSon1973PictureSon1973    92 posts
    It’s a Big IF !
    But what if the leader of each lap receives a $500 Lap incentive to connections & $250 to the
    Reinswoman /Reinsmam wouldn’t this give incentive to always run uptempo / breakneck racing
    it wouldn’t be boring racing especially in the lower class fields.
  • JayJayJayJay    6,529 posts
    Would result in more suicide missions than Pearl Harbor. It would resemble the first corner of a demo derby at Claremont. A lot of atrial fibrillation.....and that's just the owners.

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  • PictureSon1973PictureSon1973    92 posts
    Would such policy give a earning capacity to the 1 Lap only Speed Machines while giving the
    Sit / Kick Brigade every possible?
  • PictureSon1973PictureSon1973    92 posts
    But Jay Jay all the relevant rules would apply !
    Get everyone talking about the Trots again and it wouldn’t be from the Carnage if Policed
    In a Severe Penalty Scenario for causing any form of interference or Safety Issue.
  • AbbysAceAbbysAce    385 posts
    G-Mac said:

    As an owner of several slow pacers (and one trotter) in my time I yearn for a 35 second first quarter when in he lead. I had a decent one in Victoria that could rattle home in 54 if she was allowed to lead in a 62 first half. That rarely happens so she rarely won. 

    The focus shouldn't be on the time run by the leader, it should be on the lack of pressure from others in the race and why they didn't go forward. 
    I doubt it in Vic, majority of races are run over 62 1st half
  • JayJayJayJay    6,529 posts
    A proposal circulating from the Chief Steward to abandon the slow sectionals rule from December 1.
  • JayJayJayJay    6,529 posts
    Bunbury Saturday night, race 7, a maiden won by Moolah Magnet. Lead time a reasonable 36.8, faster than both the L3/4 HWOE LT $9,000 race and the L7/8 Conditioned pace won by Cowboys N Bandits (Lead time 38.0). The winning junior driver posts a 32.6 first quarter, 0.1 second outside the allowable 32.5, and is relieved of $100 under the slow sectionals rule. I can't see the logic of either the rule or in applying the rule which in all likelihood will be abolished on December 1, and I feel greatly for the young driver whose judgement is out by 0.1 of a second. It must be extremely discouraging to any prospective junior drivers.
  • freodockersfreodockers    1,339 posts
    Agree to disagree on the rule JayJay.
    But to issue a fine for .1 of a second in a country meet, Race 7 mind you beggars belief.
    The stewards should be fined for stupidity.
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