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Quote: from stevedvg on 6:37 pm on Dec. 19, 2006[br]Forgive my ignorance, what the key differences between the UK going stick and the French penetrometer?
I’ve found that the going declarations in France are pretty much useless.
(though part of that is that they are announced a couple of days in advance and the French courses can change going quite dramatically in the interim)
The French one is a stick with a weight falling a standard distance. The Cranfield Going stick is similar but has a "shear" measurement capability, taken by pulling the handle forwards by 45 degrees. Te latter is "claimed" to represent the turning action of the horse’s hooves.
Australia has found that the turf sticks have at best only moderate to poor correlation with race times. This is mainly because the stick energy is only about 1.3% of the energy that a horse foot imposes on the turf. The sticks only test the surface crust and not to the 14 inch depth that a horses’ weight is actually carried on.
The sticks do not tell the difference between a track drying out ie soft below and one that is dried out but has taken some surface rain – a huge difference for racing. Nor do they measure traction or surface slipperiness eg rain onto a firm surface, nor the shock absorbing cushion, nor the surface deformation. We still have to allow for that somehow.
The device is probably being introduced more to soothe the complaints from the trainers being misled than to help in predicting race conditions for the punter.