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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

How far? Judges able to record winning distances up to 200 lengths

Bristol De Mai draws clear to win the Betfair Chase by 57 lengths
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Racecourse judges will have a greater range of extended distances at their disposal from Monday, although they are unlikely to be used that often.

In recent years the widest margin between horses that they have been able to record has been 99 lengths, and anything beyond that has gone down as 99-plus.

That in itself was a big improvement on the old official term of 'a distance', which was traditionally used for anything over 30 lengths and so might have referred to one of 31 lengths or 131 lengths.

Explaining the change, Nick Bostock, who is the principal judge on a team of ten, said: "It's simply in the interests of greater accuracy.

"From January 1 we are extending what we call the LPS, or lengths per second, tables in our computers to go up to 200 lengths. Until now our limit has been 99 lengths, and I think that change came in only after Kauto Star won his fourth King George in 2009.

"The winning margin that day was given as 'a distance' and people understandably wanted to know what the actual margin was. I think we made the last change shortly afterwards."

For the record, Kauto Star beat Madison Du Berlais by 36 lengths, a margin the Racing Post reported on the day after a simple calculation made from the electronic times available on the judge's slip.

If you are interested in this, you might like:

57 lengths: Bristol De Mai blows Betfair Chase field apart

Kauto Star: a tribute to the Kempton hero


Look back on the best jumps action of the year in the new edition of the Racing Post Annual. Order now at or call 01933 304858

It's simply in the interests of greater accuracy
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