An app used by top Irish racehorse trainer Dermot Weld that identifies horses and stores their medical records has been developed by two Kildare-based vets who say it will help reduce human error.
Husband and wife Kevin and Jennifer Corley have funded their startup Equitrace with €80,000 of seed financing from friends and family.
They are in talks about a bigger series A round, and are also exploring other potential uses of their technology outside of the equine sector.
The business aims to replace the ‘blue book’ paper medication records that horse trainers, breeders and owners have to submit monthly to the Irish Horse Racing Board, which accepts Equitrace records.
Almost 19,000 horses are registered on the app.
Thoroughbred horses can be worth millions of euro and they need passports for international travel between races, stables and stud farms.
Passports sometimes get forgotten or lost, the Corleys say, and their app, which works via bluetooth with a scanner for horses’ ID microchips and veterinary medicines, is a digital solution.
It also tracks horses’ locations, and, with certain chips, their temperature.
Developed with the help of Cork’s Institute of Technology, the app also enables vets to upload medicine and dosage information to the system.
Correct medicines can then be scanned by stable staff, who also see suggested stand down times.
Weld, who has trained almost 4,500 winners, said: “Equitrace is extremely helpful.
"It dramatically reduces our paperwork, which is the bane of any trainer’s life.”
While trainer Jim Bolger recently claimed cheating using steroids is a problem in racing, Kevin Corley said that his analysis of five years of positive test reports on racehorses in the UK and Ireland found that only 4pc were due to foul play or malfeasance.
More than half were due to too short a withdrawal time for a medication, and 10pc were due to a case of mistaken identity, he found.
“Vets might be using 1,000 different products,” said Corley. “They, trainers and stable staff are terrified that a mistake may result in a positive drugs test. Our app helps them avoid that and comply with the rules.
“In terms of ID, I once had to genetically test four valuable horses because their records had been lost, and none of the stable staff knew which was which,” he said.
Corley is an internationally acclaimed specialist in equine medicine and critical care. His wife, a specialist equine surgeon with thoroughbreds at the Curragh, previously founded a veterinary app business.
The app’s co-founder, Dr Paul Hayton, previously developed a system to detect breast cancer, a monitoring system for jet engines, and an advertising app.