Video production firm JockeyCam has utilised its state-of-the-art technology to unleash a new 360-degree horse racing experience for racegoers, inviting them to set foot into the world of jockeys by the magic of Virtual Reality (VR).
The experience has been developed to give punters first-hand experience of life as a National Hunt jockey.
The VR horseracing attraction allows racegoers to pit their wits against their friends or family members and alongside other virtual jockeys.
The technology debuted at Ayr Racecourse and is expected to be showcased elsewhere at other horse racing meetings throughout the year.
The Chance to Experience Life as a Jump Jockey
JockeyCam has worked hard to innovate and provide a unique insight into the British horseracing industry.
The “Virtual Race Experience” enables racegoers to don a VR headset and get a jockey’s eye view of riding a National Hunt horse around the Welsh racecourse of Chepstow in Monmouthshire.
The visuals for the VR headsets were captured by professional jockeys, who wore panoramic high-definition (HD) cameras while racing around Chepstow Racecourse. The racehorses were supplied by stable trainer Tim Vaughan, with immersive race commentary provided by Stewart Machin.
The next step for JockeyCam could be to develop a VR experience for flat racing, which offers an altogether different experience to jumping over fences and hurdles. There is just as much interest and allure in flat racing as National Hunt racing, as the upcoming Royal Ascot festival will testify. JockeyCam’s technology has already been used with broadcasters to demonstrate a jockey’s eye view of races at Royal Ascot, as well as races overseas like the Breeders’ Cup.
The 2022 Royal Ascot contains a host of great Group 1 races, which encourage bookmakers to launch a string of Royal Ascot free bet promotions to new and existing customers ahead of the showcase event. As the marquee flat racing event, the chance for racegoers to get aboard a champion horse in a VR Ascot Gold Cup or Diamond Jubilee Stakes would be an engaging piece of technology.
The facts and figures behind JockeyCam
The JockeyCam technology is designed to provide real-time footage in high-definition (HD) quality. The VR experience gives people a panoramic perspective aboard a racehorse, while the JockeyCam views for broadcast networks also help to give a sense of perspective to viewers in terms of the speed of the race and how close the jockeys can get to one another.
The technology is also one of the most unobtrusive pieces of kit a jockey could ask for. Weighing in at just 74g and attached to a subtle 34g transmitter fitted to the jockey’s back protector, JockeyCam makes it possible to share the thrill of top-level horseracing at first-hand.
Paul Struthers, chief executive of the GB Professional Jockeys Association, described JockeyCam as a “real insight” for racing fans into “what it’s like to be a jockey”. Struthers likened the lightweight, unobtrusive setup to wearing “a second set of goggles”, such is the negligible impact the kit has on a jockey’s performance.
JockeyCam’s use at headline racing meetings overseas demonstrates how this piece of technology has already gone global. At the 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, JockeyCam was used to provide in-race speed data in collaboration with race timing experts Total Performance Data. It was also utilised at the 2022 Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park, Florida, with its jockey’s eye camera angle broadcast to networks TVG and NBC Sports.
Last autumn, it was even used in speedway to provide a unique rider’s eye perspective of the British Speedway Premiership Grand Final. Ultimately, JockeyCam is designed to bring fans closer to their favourite sporting action than ever before.
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