Following Dogs In Form

As a regular backer of the racing greyhound, there is one rule which I rarely, if ever, break. I don’t back dogs to win that are not running well. Instead, I will often lay an out of form dog on the exchanges, if the price on offer seems too short. But, as far as risking my money on backing a greyhound to win that is not at or near its best, I’m just not interested. Some punters may be seduced by the appearance, in a particular graded race, of a greyhound that has been competing at a higher level in the not too distant past. For instance, a dog that has a string of wins in A1 and A2 to his name may catch the eye if it appears in what looks like a run-of-the-mill A3 race, perhaps for the first time. Now, class can be an important factor in evaluating a dog’s chances in a race but, more often than not, a dog’s intrinsic ability counts for little if it’s not in good current form. A dog is usually downgraded for a reason, and that reason is that it can’t at present reproduce its best form. In the majority of cases, a downgrade doesn’t result in an immediate return to form.

The racing greyhound is a wonderfully consistent animal, but that doesn’t mean it is capable of running to the same level of form week in, week out. It will run consistently according to its current level of health and fitness. When a dog is feeling well, and its musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems are functioning at their best, the greyhound will be capable of recording sectional and final times that vary very little – providing, of course, that it secures a clear run. Unfortunately, as any greyhound trainer will tell you, there are a hundred and one things that can go wrong to take the edge off a dog’s fitness, such as muscle problems, low-grade infections, or joint soreness. When a dog is not feeling at its best it may run several races below par until the problem that is causing its loss of form is dealt with by the trainer. That may involve medication, physiotherapy, and a rest to freshen the dog up. Some dogs, blessed with a tough constitution, will continue to run through a bad patch until their form improves. Other factors which can affect a dog’s current form include a change in ground conditions, a different trap draw that leads to the dog encountering trouble in running, or a rise in grade which takes the dog out of its comfort zone.

A greyhound will demonstrate clearly its health and fitness by its current form, and dogs in form win the majority of graded races. I’ve recently analysed the results of 650 races in A3 grade in which I considered having a bet or actually did have a bet. The following statistics refer to the previous form of the winners of these races:

    Won A3 in the previous month: 29%
    2nd in A3 last time out: 20%
    Won A4 in the previous month: 19%

So 68% of the 650 races were won by dogs in good recent form, either in the same grade or the grade below.

Finally, what period of time actually constitutes current or recent form? My research suggests that form shown in the previous calendar month can generally be relied upon. For betting purposes I tend to treat form shown before that with suspicion.

October 2018
Standard Times
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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