Fontwell forecast puts Jodie first past the post

Jodie Lynch receives her prize from Fontwell's Grant Elgin, watched by lecturer Sandy Hood

Jodie Lynch receives her prize from Fontwell's Grant Elgin, watched by lecturer Sandy Hood

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Accurate forecasting is a valuable skill when it comes to horse racing.

But for student Jodie Lynch, it was the size of a race-going crowd and not a string of winning horses that earned her a reward at Fontwell Park.

She was one of a group of HND business students from Chichester College who were set the task of predicting the size of the crowd at Fontwell’s Irish race day in October.

Her accuracy so impressed staff at Fontwell that they have awarded her tickets to a race meeting of her choice in 2011.

Lecturer Sandy Hood asked them to use a variety of factors to assess the likely attendance – and Jodie was first past the post by several lengths when her guess was within 50 of the actual figure of 5,379.

Jodie, 30, from Worthing, said: “My estimate was for 5,423. There were a few others who were within the right range but I had gone for an actual figure rather than a range.

“I was surprised I was so close, but I had put quite a lot of work into coming up with the figure.”

Factors such as the attendance for the same fixture in 2009, trends in horse-racing attendances for the year and attractions the course had on the day, which included live music and kids’ entertainment, all helped Jodie and her fellow students come up with their guesses.

Fontwell Park commercial manager Grant Elgin was impressed and said: “We’ve been delighted to work with Chichester College on this project and were pleased to offer a prize to Jodie, whose prediction was superb. This sort of data can be very useful to us in charting attendances and trends.”

Now Jodie, who switched to Chichester College after completing an HNC in business at Northbrook College in Worthing, just needs to convert her skill at predicting crowd numbers into forecasting race winners. “I’ll have to work on that for when I take advantage of my free tickets,” she added.