Speed Handicapping (1)

In theory, every greyhound race should be won by the fastest dog. And, given the consistency of the average racing greyhound, the fastest dog would indeed win almost every time - were it not for the inevitable trouble in running that occurs in most races. Of course, if the fastest dog won every time there wouldn’t be any bookmakers willing to lay odds on it. In fact, the greyhound with the fastest recent time (by recent I mean recorded within the last month) wins only about 20 – 25% of races. The top two greyhounds rated best on time in any race win around 35% of races. So we’re left with a fascinating conundrum: how do we isolate a greyhound’s invaluable gift of raw speed – as measured by the clock in hundredths of a second – from the factors which prevent the dog from exploiting its speed advantage over its rivals? In this month’s and following blogs we’ll try to identify the conditions under which a greyhound can utilise its superior pace to win its race and, by doing so, benefit us financially.

First of all, we need to find the best way to record a greyhound’s racetimes so as to allow easy comparison with the other dogs in the race. I have always favoured converting a dog’s finishing time in seconds and fractions of a second to a numerical equivalent based on 100. Let’s say the average greyhound at a particular racetrack runs the standard 500 metre distance in around 30.00 seconds. Here are a fictional greyhound’s racetimes during the past month:

IRISH JIG (black dog, March 2008)

Date Distance Time
July 3rd 500m 29.85
July 10th 500m 30.10
July 19th 500m 29.78
July 25th 500m 30.13

In this case we’ll give 30.00 seconds the numerical value of 100. Then, for racetimes faster than 30.00 seconds you ADD one point for each one hundredth of a second faster than 30.00 seconds. On July 3rd Irish Jig ran a time of 29.85 seconds. We add 15 points to 100, giving us a timefigure of 115.

On July 10th Irish Jig’s racetime was 30.10 seconds. For racetimes slower than 30.00 seconds, you DEDUCT one point for each one hundredth of a second slower than 30.00 seconds. So we deduct 10 points from 100, giving a timefigure of 90. Below are Irish Jig’s final timefigures for the month of July:

Date Distance RaceTime TimeFigure
July 3rd 500m 29.85 115
July 10th 500m 30.10 90
July 19th 500m 29.78 122
July 25th 500m 30.13 87

If we were assessing Irish Jig’s chances in his next race, we’d use his best timefigure (122).

It is generally accepted that the winning distance of one length is equivalent to 0.08 seconds (eight hundredths of a second). That means that ½ length equates to 0.04 seconds, and ¼ length to 0.02 seconds.

Let’s say that Irish Jig (Trap 1) is competing in a race where his timefigure of 122 is the fastest in the race. The other dogs in the race have timefigures as follows:

Trap 1 (Irish Jig): 122
Trap 2: 106
Trap 3: 98
Trap 4: 120
Trap 5: 118
Trap 6: 84

So, purely from the point of view of speed handicapping, we can calculate the advantage that Irish Jig has over his rivals:

Over Trap 2: 122 - 106 = 16 points (2 lengths)
Over Trap 3: 122 - 98 = 24 points (3 lengths)
Over Trap 4: 122 - 120 = 2 points (1/4 length)
Over Trap 5: 122 - 118 = 4 points (1/2 length)
Over Trap 6: 122 - 84 = 38 points (41/4 lengths)
May 2018
Focus On Monmore Green
 
April 2018
Focus On Hove
 
March 2018
Focus On Doncaster
 
February 2018
Focus On Crayford
 
January 2018
Focus On Central Park
 
December 2017
An Index Of Previous Blog Posts
 
November 2017
Focus On Belle Vue
 
October 2017
Young Graders To Follow (2)
 
September 2017
Young Graders To Follow
 
August 2017
Getting A Clear Run
 
July 2017
Essential Tools For Greyhound Betting (2)
 
June 2017
Essential Tools For Greyhound Betting (1)
 
May 2017
Specialisation (2)
 
April 2017
Specialisation (1)
 
March 2017
Qualities Of The Successful Backer
 
February 2017
Compiling Race Ratings (2)
 
January 2017
Compiling Race Ratings (1)
 
December 2016
Racecard Comments : S - X
 
November 2016
Racecard Comments : M - R
 
October 2016
Racecard Comments : H - M
 
September 2016
Racecard Comments : H
 
August 2016
Racecard Comments : E - H
 
July 2016
Racecard Comments : B - D
 
June 2016
Racecard Comments : A - B
 
May 2016
Form Cycles
 
April 2016
Keeping An Online Formbook (3)
 
March 2016
Keeping An Online Formbook (2)
 
February 2016
Keeping An Online Formbook (1)
 
January 2016
The Striped jacket
 
December 2015
The Orange jacket
 
November 2015
The Black jacket
 
October 2015
The White jacket
 
September 2015
The Blue jacket
 
August 2015
The Red jacket
 
July 2015
Upgraded Dogs To Avoid
 
June 2015
Upgraded Dogs
 
May 2015
Downgraded Dogs
 
April 2015
Focus on Romford
 
March 2015
Focus on Swindon (2)
 
February 2015
Focus on Swindon (1)
 
January 2015
Exploiting Formline Comments (2)
 
December 2014
Exploiting Formline Comments (1)
 
November 2014
Greyhound Racing: Make It Pay (2)
 
October 2014
Greyhound Racing: Make It Pay (1)
 
September 2014
Greyhound Betting Expert Advice (6)
 
August 2014
Greyhound Betting Expert Advice (5)
 
July 2014
Greyhound Betting Expert Advice (4)
 
June 2014
Greyhound Betting Expert Advice (3)
 
May 2014
Greyhound Betting Expert Advice (2)
 
April 2014
Greyhound Betting Expert Advice (1)
 
March 2014
The Time Test
 
February 2014
Recording and Reviewing Your Bets
 
January 2014
What’s a "grade within a grade"? (2)
 
December 2013
What’s a "grade within a grade"? (1)
 
November 2013
Trap Draw
 
October 2013
Sires To Note
 
September 2013
Racing Post Summaries (3)
 
August 2013
Racing Post Summaries (2)
 
July 2013
Racing Post Summaries (1)
 
June 2013
Laying Greyhounds On The Betting Exchanges
 
May 2013
Spotting The Ungenuine Dog
 
April 2013
Compiling A List Of Greyhounds To Follow
 
March 2013
Specialisation (2)
 
February 2013
Specialisation (1)
 
January 2013
Winter Ground Conditions
 
December 2012
Front Runners v Strong Finishers
 
November 2012
Weight
 
October 2012
Identifying Improving Greyhounds
 
September 2012
Race Ratings (2)
 
August 2012
Race Ratings (1)
 
July 2012
Following dogs in form
 
June 2012
Adopting a professional approach (3)
 
May 2012
Adopting a professional approach (2)
 
April 2012
A Greyhound's Win / Lose Ratio
 
March 2012
Adopting a professional approach (1)
 
February 2012
Warning To Speed Fans
 
January 2012
Following Bitches After Seasonal Rest
 
December 2011
Early Paced Dogs
 
November 2011
Speed Handicapping (5) : More FAQs
 
October 2011
Speed Handicapping (4) : FAQs
 
September 2011
Speed Handicapping (3)
 
August 2011
Speed Handicapping (2)
 
July 2011
Speed Handicapping (1)
 
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