Will to whinny

22.03.34: THE SPORT of kings will never be the same again now that trainers and owners have won the battle over the use of brain scanners to boost the performance of racehorses.

After a long fight, portable units known as MSHBs, for Magnetic Stimulation of Horses' Brains, will be allowed on racetracks for the first time.

'We tried to keep the devices out,' said a spokesman for the Jockey Club, 'but they are so hard to control that the only way to ensure fair play is to let everybody use one.'

MSHBs are briefcase-sized brain scanners that enable trainers to stimulate areas of a horse's brain with low-frequency electromagnetism.

'When these hand-held scanners came on the market, vets could scan a horse's brain for the first time,' says owner James Fonzby-Thomas. 'They found that a horse's brain has areas that control motivation and will in the same way that a human brain has.'

Some trainers started boosting the mental state of their horses - to remarkable effect.

'Galloping horses take just one breath per stride. The only way they can increase their speed is by taking longer strides, not more strides,' adds Fonzby-Thomas.

Trainers prize motivation. The use of MSHBs means that without a boosted will to win, any horse is an also-ran. JB/DW