Early Paced Dogs

Supporting the dog that is likely to lead in its race by virtue of its early pace is by no means a foolproof method of making a profit. But at least it gives the backer a good chance of getting a run for his money. If you’ve backed a dog that lacks early but is a strong finisher, you can never be certain whether or not it will manage to avoid trouble. After all, if you’re stuck in a traffic jam, it doesn’t really matter if you’re in a Ferrari or a Fiat Panda!

A glance through the average racecard will highlight plenty of past winners with the comments ‘Always led’ or ‘Led 1’ in their formlines. Of course, in order to increase your chances of backing a winner you need to be selective. Avoid early paced dogs that lead into the finishing straight but are, time after time, caught close home. These are short runners at the trip, at least in the grade in which they are currently competing. To win they have to rely on all the other runners losing ground by bunching or crowding in behind. Instead, look for dogs that are sure to lead early but have also shown in previous races that they can win in the grade by battling all the way to the line, staying every yard of the trip.

It helps if the early paced dog you are backing is also a consistent trapper. Be wary of dogs whose recent formline comments include both ‘slow away’ and ‘quick away’. A missed break will make it much harder for a dog to get a clear run despite its early speed. Also, a dog’s early pace is of limited value unless it has a favourable trap draw from which to exploit it. The ideal scenario would be a railer, drawn in Trap 1, with the best early pace in the race, with a dog in Trap 2 that is a slow starter or has moderate early speed. Guaranteed a clear run, the dog in the red jacket will lead on the rails into the first bend, and his rivals will be playing catch-up from that point on. Similarly, an early paced dog in Trap 3 with slower dogs drawn on either side will be in a strong position to lead up the middle.

This brings us in to the next problem. Normally there are two or more dogs in the race with EP (Early Pace) in their formline comments. So how do we tell which of them is the more likely to lead? We can get a pretty good idea from the dogs’ recent sectional times.

The sectional is the time it takes a dog to run from the traps to the winning line first time round. Though extremely useful, sectional times can be deceptive. Take, for example, a race in which Dog A clocks a sectional time of 4.50 seconds and Dog B clocks 4.60 seconds, and yet Dog B leads at the first bend. This has happened because dog B has accelerated more quickly in the distance between the finish line and the first bend. Despite this drawback, however, sectional times are a good guide to what will happen in the early stages of a race. All racecards show a dog’s recent sectional times, usually after the trap draw and before the finishing position. Depending on the distance between the traps and the winning line, sectional times vary between two and six seconds.

Here are the recent sectional times of the dogs in a typical graded race:

Tr. 1:4.554.524.384.48
Tr. 2:4.604.724.634.59
Tr. 3:4.374.414.394.40
Tr. 4:4.624.594.674.73
Tr. 5:4.504.524.564.51
Tr. 6:4.364.444.374.36

The evidence of these sectionals suggests that Traps 3 and 6 have the best early pace. Trap 1 can also show early pace but can’t be relied on to do so consistently. Trap 5 has average but consistent early speed. Traps 2 and 4 have moderate early.

This analysis leaves aside the question of speed from the traps. It is possible that Trap 6 is a lightning fast trapper, but that its early pace is in inferior to that of Trap 3, who traps moderately but has blistering early. The only way to judge speed from the traps is from the formline comments. The really fast trapper will have comments such as ‘Quick Away’ or ‘Very Quick Away’.

Sectional times, then, are a useful indication of which dog or dogs will lead early in the race. Building up a picture of how the race will be run from the sectional times is a good way of picking the likely winner in a tightly graded contest. The best bet of all is the early paced dog that is drawn to go clear and that has posted recent finishing times significantly superior to those of its rivals. Now that’s a greyhound that the serious backer can go to war with!

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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