A £20million racehorse training system designed by roller coaster engineers and introduced in Lambourn has received mixed views on social media.
The pioneering machine — called the “Kurtsystem” — is the brainchild of Turkish racehorse owner Mehmet Kurt and has been constructed at his Kingwood Stud.
No riders are required for the innovative concept whereby racehorses are loosely tethered within “cabins” powered by an overhead monorail. The speed can be set from walk to canter around an oval circuit of just under a mile.
“I was delighted to provide the British racing community with an introductory demonstration of the Kurtsystem’s technology — trainers, owners, breeders and their staff were able to see the pre-training system operate at speeds varying from a walk and trot to a canter with both yearlings and two-year-olds,” said Mehmet.
“The system will improve the preparation and pre-training of young racehorses before they enter a full training regime — it will reduce injuries in horses and allow us to measure their physical growth. It will also have a role in rehabilitation, particularly for injured National Hunt horses.”
At first glance, it may look more like a theme park ride than a racehorse training facility, but the unique system — the first of its kind in the UK — has received some positive feedback from industry experts.
The 20-time champion jockey AP McCoy has branded it “amazing”.
He told ITV News: “I never thought I’d see something like this in my lifetime — to train a racehorse or to be successful in any sport, it’s all about repetition, but whether this works, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Top Lambourn trainer Nicky Henderson previously told H&H it was “a very novel idea and highly interesting”, while former jockey and TV presenter Mick Fitzgerald described it on Twitter as “quite an eye opener”, adding he “wasn’t sure what to make of it but the horses looked very relaxed”.
Racing UK presenter Nick Luck said it was “very interesting” and that “some [people] are always ahead of the game”.
However, some racing fans were not convinced by the new technique.
“Can’t see the new Kurtsytem ever replacing the thrill of watching your horse canter up the [gallops] in the morning,” added Twitter follower @hgriffiths55.
Should the Kurtsystem — which has been approved by the Royal Veterinary College — prove a success, it could potentially revolutionise the training of young racehorses in the UK. However, as AP McCoy highlights, time will indeed tell.