A startling new discovery that could blow the program right out of a punter’s pants has seen horses maintain maximum speed for an additional 25 seconds under conditions similar to jet lag.
The study, led by Bristol University and including Roger Short from the University of Melbourne, monitored seven thoroughbreds on high-speed treadmills in light controlled rooms over a three-month period.
The light-dark cycle conditions replicated easterly flight patterns spanning seven time zones. The result was thoroughbreds that maintained flat chat speed for a full 25 seconds longer than normal.
Short says the findings were substantially different to humans, who experience circadian rhythm disorder when exposed to ‘jet lag’ conditions. Horses for courses. However the results also proved to be transient, as after 14 days the horse’s ability returned to normal.
When asked to shed some light on such obscurely known matters, Short says it stems from the horse’s dark past. He says horses evolved in northerly latitudes, where inordinately long summer days and winter nights were the norm, and the threat of wolves were imminent.
Thus, he reasons, horses are ready to run at a second’s notice and sleep for barely ½ an hour at a time, at no set time. Furthermore, horses are not stressed by change of light or conditions, so giving a horse the edge could simply involve “flicking the light switch on in the stables”.
Dr Safron Tagtim, Sociologist at the Brisbane Equine Terminal (BET), says such findings could revolutionise gambling across the globe. He says not only will swarms of punters consult international flight times to pick their winner, but an unprecedented rise in pilot payoffs and spotlight smuggling could fast render the bookie a hapless highroller.