History of RaceTech

Heritage

The company now trading under the name RaceTech began life as the Race Finish Recording Company in 1946, following an investigation by the Jockey Club into how photography could be used as a means for judging the results of horse races. First used for the 1947 Flat season, the photofinish soon became an established part of the racing scene, and further significant technological advances soon followed as racing technology developed rapidly through the 1950s and into the 1960s: electronic race timing was introduced in 1950, the first racecourse commentary at Goodwood in 1952, the camera patrol in 1960, and starting stalls in 1965.

In 1967 the company became a subsidiary of the Horserace Betting Levy Board, and was given the title Racecourse Technical Services to reflect its widening range of technological activities, and moved from central London to its present base in Raynes Park in South-West London.

Since 1998, RaceTech has been in the sole ownership of the Racecourse Association, the trade association of 57 of the UK’s racecourses.

In 2013 RaceTech provided broadcast facilities at almost XXXX fixtures in the UK, supplying pictures for terrestrial transmission by Channel 4 and satellite channels Racing UK and At The Races. Its extensive coverage included footage of the world’s premier Classic, the Investec Derby, and the Crabbie’s Grand National which was seen by 9 million viewers, as well as flagship events at Goodwood, Cheltenham, Chester, York and Newmarket.

  • 1944 The Jockey Club appoints a sub-committee to examine the use of photography as a means of judging the results of races.
  • 1945 The sub-committee reports in March, recommending that a continuous strip camera should be tested through a whole season’s racing.
  • 1946 Race Finish Recording Company, with headquarters in central London, founded.
  • 1947 The photofinish camera is ready for use by the beginning of the Flat season and first used to decide placings in the Grand Metropolitan Handicap at Epsom, 22 April.
  • 1948 Race Finish Recording Company provides photofinish technology used in the Olympic Games in London.
  • 1949 Photofinish first used to determine outcome of a Classic race in the Two
  • Thousand Guineas at Newmarket, 27 April. Photofinish first used to
  • determine outcome of the Derby, 4 June.
  • 1950 Race timing introduced.
  • 1952 First racecourse commentary, Goodwood, 29 July.
  • 1957 First mirror system used for photofinish.
  • 1960 Camera patrol first used.
  • 1965 Starting stalls first used in Great Britain at Newmarket, 8 July.
  • 1966 First video camera patrol.
  • 1967 The company moves from central London to Raynes Park.
  • The company becomes a subsidiary of the Betting Levy Board and
  • starts trading as Racecourse Technical Services.
  • The Derby is started from stalls for the first time, 7 June.
  • 1983 Photofinish available on all British courses.
  • 1989 First colour photofinish, in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket on 20 October.
  • 1995 Racecourse Technical Services assumes a new corporate identity
  • under the name RaceTech.
  • First use of the Omega Hawkeye system of black and white
  • electronic photofinish.
  • The company becomes a subsidiary of the British Horseracing Board.
  • 1998 Ownership of RaceTech transferred from the BHB to the Racecourse Association.
  • 2000 Electronic colour photofinish systems in use on all racecourses.
  • 2002 Television units upgraded to widescreen digital. Start of major
  • contracts with SIS and At The Races.
  • The RaceNet fibreoptic network installed, linking forty-nine
  • racecourses to BT Tower in London.
  • 2003 All Flat meetings officially timed, using radio systems.
  • Third big screen is purchased and operated for the Tote
  • 2004 Appointments of Tim Curtis as Chairman and Brad Higgins
  • as Chief Executive Officer
  • 2005 Starting Stalls operation restructured. Stalls teams and transport services reorganised and roll-out of new style Steriline stalls units completed.
  • 2006 Tom Phillips and Rob Woodward appointed to the Board as Non-Executive Directors. Phillips has held the positions of Chief Operating Officer and Group Finance Director at the Tote, overseeing the establishment of the group as Britain’s fifth largest bookmaker, while Woodward is credited with spearheading the development of Channel 4’s successful digital channels during his time as Commercial Director for the broadcaster
  • 2007 Sony XD Cam system introduced to the RaceTech fleet providing digital
  • recording and editing capabilities
  • 2008 RaceTech AV launched – a new website designed to promote
  • RaceTech’s services and expertise beyond horseracing
  • 2009 RaceTech AV extends projects beyond the racing industry and makes significant inroads with public sector business. RaceTech also completes major installations projects at Epsom and completed a major upgrade of the public address system at Kempton Park Racecourse.
  • 2010 RaceTech wins five year contract for the provision of High Definition (HD) television services to Racecourse Media Group (RMG). The contract includes the supply of racing’s first HD scanners at a cost of over £7m of investment.
  • RaceTech also signs 5 year contracts for the provision of starting stalls services to 22 racecourses.
  • 2011 Roll out and commissioning of the new Swiss Timing (formerly Omega) Star camera photofinish system was completed, demonstrating significantly improved image quality and capability of remote operation.
  • RaceTech’s three HD scanners in full operational use – The company is proud to provide a daily HD service to the British horse racing industry, adding to our list of technical “world firsts” for the benefit of our sport.
  • 2012 RaceTech AV continues to make good progress with major wins from public and private sector customers such as Ordnance Survey and Newcastle University.
  • Nic Christodoulou is appointed Director of Engineering and Technical Operations, taking over from Mick Both, who retires after almost 29 years with RaceTech.
  • 2013 RaceTech provides enhanced Event TV services to many racecourses, enhancing racegoer experience as well as providing extended support services for broadcasters, including uplink, camera and technical facilities. In addition, research and development continued into new innovations – providing social media feeds for racecourse TV, a cost effective starts camera, a jimmy jib, steadicam and video streaming technologies, as well as a large chronograph available to display racetimes.
  • 2014 RaceTech shows a full working demonstration of our unique sectional timing and tracking solution, developed in partnership with Swiss Timing.

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