Training Revolution?

Monty Roberts likes it

The monorail that has ignited debate

The monorail that has ignited debate

With its space-age design, it would not look out of place in a theme park but its creator claims it will revolutionise the training of racehorses.

Planning permission has already been approved for the construction of the mile-long monorail system just outside the Berkshire training centre of Lambourn with work expected to being before the end of the year after the recent appointment of a Project Manager.

Ultimately running along the track will be a computer controlled unit housing between six and 12 horses as they exercise with controlled weights on their backs rather than riders.

By this time next year, it should be completed and Turkish industrialist Mehmet Kurt, who has poured $20million (£12.4million) into development and will spend a further £10m on his system’s construction at Kingwood Stud, is convinced the horse welfare benefits will win over any sceptic minds in racing.

Kurt this week outlined his plans to a Jockey Club delegation headed by chief executive Simon Bazalgette but he already has a prototype operating near Istanbul.

He was inspired develop Kurtsystems after becoming frustrated by the level of injury to his young horses when they went into training.

He is convinced that, more often than not, riders tugging at the reins of embryonic racehorses do more damage than good.

Owner Mehmet Kurt is convinced of the benefits

Owner Mehmet Kurt is convinced of the benefits

Kurt says results in his homeland endorse his methods. He claims horses which undergo a conditioning programme of ‘controlled exercise’ develop stronger bones, cartilages, muscles and tendons, making them more resilient to the rigours of full training.

Kurt, a former president of Adanaspor football club who studied the movement of wild horses in Arizona before designing his prototype, claims his system can also play a significant role in the rehabilitation of injured horses.

The man, who has won the Turkish Derby twice with The Best (1993) and Batrobel (1999), said: ‘When I had young horses which were exciting and expected to become champions were injured too often, I felt I had to find a solution or leave the sport.

‘Breakdowns and muscle injuries arise when horses are pushed beyond their capabilities at a very young age.

‘This is about making a horse ready for training. The idea is to make it as natural as possible with no restriction on movement.’

Kurt has had horse in training with Richard Hannon this summer and intends to increase his British string. He will intend this week’s next session of the Tattersalls Sales in Newmarket this week with bloodstock agent Anthony Stroud.

Kurt’s intention is to practise what he preaches and pre-train his young stock on his system. He insists he can win over the traditionally conservative racing community to join him.

‘I know people have old habits but when they see horses going from the Kurtsystems to be winners they will change to new habits,’ he said.

He already has one convert, renowned US Horse Whisperer Monty Roberts, who said: ’I see potential in it, amazing potential.”

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