Speed Handicapping (5) : More FAQs

I am keen to find a simple method of rating a race by using the greyhound’s recent times as shown on the racecard. Can you offer any suggestions?

There has always been debate among greyhound handicappers as to the value of a greyhound’s recorded times as a means of winner finding. My own view is that raw speed is the essential attribute of the racing greyhound, and to ignore it as a handicapping factor is foolhardy in the extreme. Often, there is no other way of judging the relative merits of different dogs. For example, how else could you form an opinion on two young greyhounds trialling in at a particular track for the first time? The first dog runs in a two dog trial and wins by fifteen lengths; the second, also in a two dog trial, wins by a neck. On the face of it the first dog has shown the greater potential, until the performances are evaluated by reference to the clock. Then we find that the first dog won in a time 0.25 seconds slower than that of the second dog, making the latter a good three lengths faster despite his narrow victory.

This example shows that times are fundamental to form study. Having said that, the measurement of speed is not always straightforward, and is influenced by other important factors, such as the likelihood of a dog getting a clear run. Using speed alone to rate a greyhound race is unlikely to lead to a long-term profit. Backing the fastest dog in the race as judged by its best recent times will throw up a few winners, but not enough to make it financially worthwhile. One way of improving the win ratio would be to back only those dogs that have a significant time advantage over their rivals, but this does not happen very often in graded racing, and consummate patience would be required.

A simple system that has been tried in the past with varying degrees of success is ‘Best Average Time’. This involves taking an average of the times of each runner’s last three races which were free of trouble from the past performance lines on the racecard. If a dog doesn’t have three clear runs, use only two if you feel that they adequately represent the dog’s ability. The dog with the best average time is the one to back. The dog with the second best average time may be used for forecast betting. However I don’t offer this system with any degree of confidence, since it will be subject to the same caveats as I have made above.

On several occasions I have pored over the form of a race for ages and finally arrived at a conclusion as to the likely winner. Then all my form study is shown to have been a waste of time by a surprise result, where the winner has found anything between half a second and a second faster time than in recent runs. Is there any way that I can anticipate a winning ‘time-finder’?

Unfortunately, you can never be sure if or when a runner is going to find time. The track’s stewards don’t like a time-finder any more than the punters do, and are quick to enquire into blatant cases of time-finding. If time-finding was allowed to occur unchecked, the track would soon lose a good proportion of its clientele. The sport today is, in general, well policed, and the vast majority of owners and trainers run their dogs honestly. So, when a dog finds an unusual amount of time as compared to its recent races, there is often a good and genuine reason for it.

There are two instances where a dog might run a lot faster than it has in the recent past. First, a dog whose form has been in the doldrums due to low grade injury may finally be feeling better, and be able to run a time which he was capable of in the past but which he has not been able top reproduce in recent races. It is worth keeping an eye on an under-achiever’s sectional times, that is, the speed he shows between the traps and the winning line first time around. He may be running slow final times, but an improvement in his sectionals can be an indication that he is about to run a faster final time.

Secondly, a young dog – between eighteen months and two years old – may have a great deal of potential but, through greenness, has not yet realised it. Then the penny drops and he produces a time far in advance of anything he’s shown before. This is a common occurrence and accounts for many examples of time-finding. Always look closely at young dogs starting to move up through the grades; their improvement on the clock can be startling.

July 2018
Focus On Nottingham
 
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Focus On Newcastle
 
May 2018
Focus On Monmore Green
 
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Focus On Hove
 
March 2018
Focus On Doncaster
 
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Focus On Crayford
 
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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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