Ballymore owners in for the thrill of the ride
Racehorse owners are hungry for information and the young minds at Ballymore Stables have introduced an innovative tool to provide their owners with action-packed info reports TIM RYAN.
A fast and furious BMX commercial caught the eye of recently appointed Ballymore Stables racing manager, Nick Fairweather, and sent his grey matter into full-on gallop.
The BMX rider in the commercial had a camera mounted on him and took viewers on a high speed ride around the cycle track and Fairweather, 26, wondered why the concept couldn't adapt to the world he lives in and loves, horse racing.
''I did a bit of research and found out where to source the equipment and thought it could be really applicable to racing,'' Fairweather said.
Now his research is taking Ballymore's owners on a thrilling and unexpected ride as they fly around the Matamata training track accompanying Chad Ormsby and GoPro in an early morning gallop.
Chad Ormsby, 25, is Melbourne Cup winning Australian-based Mike Moroney's training partner at Ballymore's Matamata base, and GoPro is the gadgetry and cameras taking their owners on the ride of their lives.
Ormsby's skill and experience is a vital ingredient in the new communication initiative.
A top class jockey before retiring and taking up his training challenge, he not only provides owners with a visual experience, but also provides an audio explanation of the work being undertaken by the horse.
Before mounting Ormsby is fitted with a chest brace, he slips it on like a backpack, which has a camera and a microphone and angles and voice over can be adjusted to suit.
Chad carries another camera, held like a whip, and another camera is operated from the ground.
''Chad jumps on the horse and explains what work he's going to do on the horse, we mainly use it on gallop mornings and for jumpouts, and upon completion he gives a post-work report,'' Fairweather explains.
''And it gives owners a good idea of what their horse is doing and they love it. We have the information from the track to the owners within a few hours after a bit of editing. The reaction from our owners has been massive.''
The excellent track lighting at Matamata means early morning vision is perfect for using the GoPro so there are no restrictions.
''Any fast work early in the morning - not a problem,'' Fairweather said. ''You can see Chad's hands and the horse's head or he can film the horse working alongside him.
''We are learning more about the software and editing aspect and new angles and new cuts that we can get.
''It was a bit daunting at first but once we decided on its purpose and understood the gadgetry we were off and running.''
And in a racing world where communication is key it's another vital tool in keeping owners happy and informed and that is being achieved.
''Thanks for the update. This would be the best update I have ever seen sent to owners, so congratulations on the great initiative. Thanks Team Ballymore,'' owner Dwayne Prendergast messaged the Ballymore team.
''Thank you for the update and a very nice touch to have the video, great initiative. Thank you and all the team at Ballymore for this wonderful video,'' Geoff Griffiths said echoing Prendergast's reaction which has been widespread among the stable's owners.
''The best thing about it is that the team here is young, Aleisha [Moroney's daughter and Ormsby's partner], 26, Chad and myself, want to develop new and innovative ways to communicate with our owners. In the scheme of things this has been an excellent investment and the thing is, owners love it.
"It's a lot of hard work but we want to go the extra mile to make ownership fun and rewarding.''