Punters progress on time

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The Independent Online
Newmarket's Rowley Mile course is to undergo a pounds 13m facelift in time for the Millenium and among the developments will be an innovation which will be of benefit not just to racegoers but to punters across the country.

The track plans to become the first in Britain to introduce sectional timing next year, which will inform punters of the time it has taken to cover various stages of the race. This information can be used to decide whether a particular horse has managed to accelerate off a fast pace, merely quickened off a slow pace, or whether the whole field in fact decelerated in the closing stages.

Adopting an Australian system, each horse will have a small transmitter - about the size of a credit card - placed in a pocket in its number cloth. Receivers placed along the course will record the timings.

The package of improvements, announced by the racecourse's chairman, Peter Player, includes a new grandstand to replace the current one which was built in 1875, a boost in prize-money for the Dubai- sponsored Champion Stakes to pounds 400,000. The winner will be given an automatic invitation to the Dubai World Cup.

It will form part of "Champions Day", which will also include the Challenge Stakes and a pounds 100,000 Dewhurst Stakes. They are moving from Thursday and Friday slots to join the Cesarewitch.

Richard Quinn has been forgiven for Generous's defeat in the 1991 2,000 Guineas and appointed as Fahd Salman's retained jockey for 1997, a role formerly held by Alan Munro.

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