This article was originally published in the August 2022 issue of Racing NSW magazine. We wish to warmly thank the Racing NSW team for their support in sharing the E-Trakka story.
Standing at 5’9”, Andrew Stuart knew his career as a young jockey wouldn’t last. After 440 race rides and 55 winners, Andrew set his sights firmly on his real interest in racing –racehorse training.
For close to four years, he worked for Bart Cummings, quickly climbing the ranks to become his Assistant/Travelling Foreman.
“I went to the Cummings stable because I wanted to figure out why he was so successful,” Andrew recalls. “In my opinion, it was 95% professionalism and 5% an amazing special gift.”
While at the Perth Racing Carnival, a chance encounter would introduce Andrew to his wife, Kim, turning a short stint in Perth into 35 years. After training under “The Cups King”, the call to step out on his own beckoned.
Andrew established himself as a trainer in WA and for the following three years, it appeared he would succeed.
In his first 12 months, he ran third in a Group 1 race. Andrew was also one of the first trainers to use heart rate monitors.
Sadly, when his horses consumed poisoned water, Andrew was left broke and forced to take up work on an offshore oil rig.
In 1992, above the Indian Ocean, Andrew first conceived E-Trakka, an equine fitness monitoring system that utilises GPS to measure heart rate, speed, stride length, and sectional times in real-time.
Although, it would take another seven years before existing technology would catch up with Andrew’s idea.
In 1999, Andrew persisted with separate heart rate and GPS recordings that were painstakingly merged to track fitness and speed.
In 2002, Andrew embarked on a research project to collect the raw data that would prove his concept.
Together with Associate Professor David Evans, Andrew conducted the field research needed to substantiate E-Trakka and met his first major investors, Dr Gerry Rose, Gerry Harvey, and the late Nick Moraitis.
In 2005, the first model E-Trakka was launched; that same year Andrew won a New Inventors Episode. In 2009, E-Trakka would win an AusIndustry Innovation Award.
Since then, the award-winning E-Trakka has clocked over 200,000 readings, providing invaluable information on equine athletes.
“I tell trainers using E-Trakka is like putting on a pair of glasses,” Andrew says.
“E-Trakka helps you identify whether a horse is a sprinter or a stayer, detects soundness issues and heart abnormalities, and it also helps you tailor training strategies to a horse’s natural talents.”
E-Trakka was founded on the belief the entire sport of racing benefits when the demands for a more professional sport are met, improving the welfare of racehorses.
“I created E-Trakka because I realised early in my career there’s massive scope for improvement.
“There’s a lot of wastage. This isn’t because people do it on purpose, it’s the current nature of the beast.
“However, after 200,000 readings, the evidence is irrefutable that using E-Trakka, a trainer substantially reduces wastage and error.
“I sacrificed my first love, racehorse training, because I believed the E-Trakka concept was far more important to create,” Andrew says.
It’s a motivation that has sustained Andrew for the past three decades and one that keeps driving him to push the boundaries.
Not only does Andrew continue to improve the components of E-Trakka, but he’s also inspired to use technology in other areas of racehorse management.
“The concept of E-Trakka is proven, beyond doubt, but when I started nobody had ever collected as much data.
“We had to weather the storm and actively do it to prove the concept, now we’re gripping on with our fingertips keeping up with technology.
“Today, technology presents us with new opportunities. It’s my strong belief using E-Trakka will become an industry standard, but even more so, that we utilise the learnings from technology to shape our education and our practices.
“Now, our next challenge is passing on this knowledge to the industry.
“E-Trakka is collecting the data, but we need to use that data better within the industry and it requires training courses and research to apply the knowledge.
“E-Trakka will be at the forefront of developing these technologies and knowledge for the future of racehorse training.
“Like the immortal words of Victor Hugo: ‘Nothing in the world is more powerful than an idea whose time has come’.”
Order E-Trakka today by calling Andrew Stuart on 0422 868 181 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.