|12 Mar 2021|
|Old Boy News|
With tertiary qualifications in Economics and Sports Management, the career path of Old Boy David Hawke (1979) really comes as no surprise. David commenced his career in finance, investigating efficiencies in retail banking before moving into the horse racing industry where he has substantial experience in the planning, development, and management of large racecourse infrastructure investments, including safety solutions such as plastic barrier technology and the development of industry-specific data capture systems.
Paramount in the horse racing industry is the safety of the horses themselves. Understandably, an ability to identify changes in the stride of a horse on the racetrack or training track provides a better chance of intervening before serious injuries occur. In 2010, David co-founded StrideMASTER which has developed data capture technologies specifically for the horse racing industry. This technology, which gathers movement data at 800 times a second, is captured via a low-cost, non-invasive sensor. Carried in the saddle cloth or saddle pad during fast work and races, the sensor enables continuous monitoring of movement and changes in movement, which to the naked eye would otherwise be impossible to monitor or detect. When the variance in a horse’s stride pattern exceeds threshold levels, those horses are flagged for further diagnostic intervention, including the possible use of advanced imaging technologies. In addition to the detailed movement data, the technology captures normal race performance information from every horse, such as timing, speed charts, position in running and distance travelled.
Now used for equine research by several universities in Australia and abroad, it has become one of the most extensive and unique racing databases in the world. As David explains, “We have recently trialled our technology on US racetracks and the results are encouraging, so we feel the future of horse welfare is indeed entering a new and exciting frontier and hopefully one where there are fewer and fewer injuries experienced on the racetrack.”