Speed Handicapping (4) : FAQs

As time is the basis of the sport of greyhound racing, surely the most logical approach to finding winners must involve a greyhound’s performance against the clock. What is your view?

There are several methods of backing dogs based on time. Whilst they may seem logical enough, they can all be disappointing when put to the test. The percentage of winning bets is likely to be low, especially if you are making a selection in every race on the card.

Perhaps the most popular selection based on time amongst novice punters is the dog with the best recent time as shown in the past performance lines on the racecard. This is, of course, useful information, but is of limited value when taken in isolation. Times are of most value when considered in conjunction with other factors, such as the chance of getting a clear run, or recent form. The dog selected on the basis of the clock alone is likely to be affected by all sorts of problems in running that will prevent it from reproducing its best time. It is dispiriting, to say the least, to see the dog you’ve backed finding trouble early on in the race and struggling from that point on, eventually recording a final time far slower than it is capable of.

That isn’t to say that the racing greyhound is an unreliable performer against the clock. On the contrary, the greyhound is remarkably consistent timewise. Given a clear passage, it can run to within a length of its best time over and over again. But it is unusual for the average graded runner to obtain a clear run in successive races. Hazards include crowding at the bends, bumping from the dogs racing alongside, or being forced to check when another dog takes its ground. Severe trouble can cost as much as half a second, or about six lengths (a length is the equivalent of 0.08 seconds). So, in a tightly knit graded race, with only a length or two between the runners on the clock, it doesn’t take much in the way of trouble to upset calculations.

However, don’t be disheartened by the difficulties involved in evaluating a dog’s chances based on time. Times are a vital aid to winner finding so long as they are used correctly and their limitations are accepted. Results can be favourable if you concentrate on dogs that are fast away from the traps, show superior early speed to the first bend, and are in good current form. If they have been well supported in the market in their recent races, so much the better.

Why is it that a dog can win a race in fast time and then start at a big price in its next race, even though the times of the other runners are no better, or even worse?

This is almost certainly because the dog is considered highly unlikely to get a clear run. When winning its previous race it was able to take an early lead, dominate the race and run a fast time. This time, however, the grader has made life more difficult for him, for example by putting faster trappers on either side of him. Unable to break from the traps as well as they can, the fast-timer will be unable to lead, and will be much more likely to suffer crowding, bumping or baulking. His chances of recording another fast time in these circumstances are much reduced.

September 2018
Focus On Poole
August 2018
Focus On Perry Barr
July 2018
Focus On Nottingham
June 2018
Focus On Newcastle
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
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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