Raphael Freire is a racehorse trainer. Jockey since the age of 16, it was in 2019 that he decided to become a trainer. Find out how data allows him to complement his feeling and differentiate himself with a new approach.
Could you please present your work and your career?
I come from a very traditional racing family in Brazil, and I have been a jockey since the age of 16. I took my trainer license in 2019, and I had very few horses. I had about 2 or 3. Last year, at the end of the season it stepped up a bit for me. I got more owners, a couple more horses in training. I started this year with 6 horses, and now we have 11 in training. We have a small racing industry here in Norway, and all of Scandinavia constitutes only one country when it comes to the racing industry. We race a lot in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden as well. I am 25 years old, which is not very old for a trainer!
What are the big races for which you are preparing your stable and your horses at the moment?
We have one filly, a two-year-old on the 12th of August and then we have the Derby week which is the 23rd of August. We were lucky to have quite a few good 2-year-olds this year. We are preparing for the biggest day in Norway which is the Derby Day. I’ll run essentially 2-year-olds, but we might as well have a runner in the Sprint.
Can you tell us a bit more about how do you prepare for those events? And how can data collection help you in this process?
Yes absolutely. I have the perfect example: a horse called Prince of Tides. I was not sure on which distance to race him. This horse was fit, and I thought he was a miler as his pedigree would point. But the data told me otherwise. Looking at his stride frequency and his stride length, I was able to understand what he was. It matched his temperament better than it would match his pedigree for instance. We tried him on another distance, a shorter one, trying to get him into a Sprinter. And it worked very well for us. The data was quite decisive there.
What I like the most about the product is that you do not have to race a horse and guess whether you have done a good job or not, guess whether your horse is fit. You can know for sure and that makes you a much more confident trainer. You know exactly the job you have done and where your horses are at, at least from a fitness point of view. That is for me the biggest advantage.
What are your favorite metrics, the one you focus on the most during your training?
I like to train my horses on the threshold, and that is what I aim for every time. I started using the EQUIMETRE on the horses who were cantering to get all the details and information we could. Right now, I am using it mainly when I am galloping them, when they are going fast.
With time and experience with the data, you get to know your horses and their usual data, and grow to learn to “guess” the data. Indeed, when you monitor a horse on a specific day, you know how he behaved that day and what the data would have been according to his behavior. You know what happened and how things went. You can read your horse and his “potential data” without having the EQUIMETRE on as it is something that you have experienced already. It allowed me to build reference data in my eye.
I like to analyze my racehorse’s locomotion, the stride data. The stride frequency is what fascinates me the most. And of course, the heart rate, the recovery capacity, and every other parameter on the platform I find fantastic.
Some of our clients may struggle with which horse to monitor and when, so how do you choose on which day which horse to monitor?
I have one EQUIMETRE, but I only have a few horses, so I am not there yet. But as I said, you can read the horse even if you do not have the device on. If I am galloping two horses together and I know that one is fit by his past gallop data, I will mount the EQUIMETRE on the other horse. You have to assess the situation, and then you make the decision. That’s a normal racehorse situation. You evaluate the horse; how fit it is. I always try to have it on the one that is less fit, to try to get that detail, if I am right or wrong.
Do you have a horse whose data has improved over time and training?
Yes indeed. I have a two-year-old filly. She went slower than I expected during her first race but got a good blow out of it. She still ran a good race. She took her time to recover, and during the next gallop, we discovered something. Her speed had improved a lot. Before the race, she reached a peak of 59 km/h and was not able to maintain it. But during her next gallop (after the race), she reached a speed of 64 km/h, and she kept it for a while. So that was surprising. I would have felt the horse better, but I would not have acknowledged that much of an improvement.
Why did you choose EQUIMETRE and how did you come to know us?
In my opinion, every other sport has advanced a lot with technology, and I feel like sometimes in horse racing, we stopped at the old measurements. People think that the old ways are the best and no one wants to change anything. I wanted to try something new. If I am to be a young trainer trying to break through an environment of people that made their name and career, I had to try something different, to offer a different approach. That is why I searched for new technology, and I discovered Equimetre. I decided to try, and I am glad I did!
How do you imagine the horse racing industry in the future?
Hard to tell, isn’t it? You never know what people think. I think horse racing is an old sport to many people. Many think that this kind of device is useless because if you do not know whether your horse is fit, you should not be a trainer. People that would not believe it or people that think they would know better than the machine. I think the future of horse racing is very unpredictable. I would not have the answer for that.
Would you like to add something?
I like the EQUIMETRE and the Arioneo team very much because you guys take your time and interest in explaining how to analyze the data and use the device. Now that I have learned how to use it my way, I have not had a meeting for a long time, and now I know how to use it on my own. But if I need to get the monthly meeting to go through my data, I know I can. You guys are very helpful, and I think every trainer would appreciate that. Finally, Equimetre is also a great way to show transparency to your owners if you’re willing to share the data with them.
Keywords: equimetre testmonials, equimetre user story, racehorse monitoring system, equimetre outcomes, horse racing