One of the factors that greyhound punters can’t seem to agree on is the importance of a greyhound’s weight, and whether a dog has an ideal racing weight. Some racecards record a dog’s weight in its formlines, and at the racetrack the dogs’ weights are given out when the dogs are parading before a race. Greyhounds’ weights range from around 25 kilos for the smaller bitches to 35 kilos for the bigger, stronger types.

At this point it is worth drawing attention to Rule 52 of The Rules of Racing, dealing with weight variation: ‘A Greyhound whose weight at the time of Kennelling prior to a Race varies by more than 1 kilogram from its weight as shown in the Identity Book for its previous Trial or Race, shall be withdrawn and shall run at least one Trial before it races subsequently.’

So why might there be a variation in a dog’s weight between its previous race or trial and its current race? Greyhounds returning from a break may be overweight. Bitches returning from seasonal rest may be carrying a bit of extra weight because they are still carrying milk. This is what George Curtis, trainer of the great Ballyregan Bob, had to say in his book, ‘Training Greyhounds’ (Ringpress 1987): ‘As a general rule most [bitches] will come into milk about eight weeks after the start of their season. They are in milk between the eighth and tenth week and are ready to trial back from ten weeks and race again at twelve weeks. Some bitches scarcely show any milk, others struggle to get rid of it and go on until the fourteenth week.’

Curtis believed that a dog has an optimum racing weight: ‘When the dog puts in a really good performance and does his best time – that is his racing weight.’ So it may be worth noting a bitch’s weight when it is running well prior to its season, and then waiting until it returns to that weight before backing it post-season. The same approach can be adopted for dogs that are returning from lameness or rest heavier than they were before. The trainer will adjust a dog’s diet and exercise regime to bring it back to its best racing weight.

Reading through some old cuttings from the sadly defunct System Spot in the Sporting Chronicle Handicap Book (circa 1979!), I came across the following comment: ‘I would not dream of suggesting that certain trainers actually slow their charges down for trials, but it is amazing how often a dog which, for example, has been running consistently well at a particular weight over 500 metres, suddenly puts on the best part of a kilo for a long-distance trial. It is graded on the strength of its performance in the trial and then, as if by magic, the weight disappears before its next race.’ I’ll leave the reader to make up his or her own mind on the relevance of this observation to today’s racing scene!

How should we view the greyhound that comes into its current race below the weight at which it has performed well in the past? Apart from diet and exercise, fretting can cause weight loss. A dog that is unhappy for some reason (loss of a kennel-mate, for example, or a change of handler) may go off its food. A dog that is off-colour may also lose its appetite, which will reveal itself on the scales.

To sum up, it’s not unusual for a dog that is returning from a rest to be heavier than normal, and gradually to lose the extra weight as it approaches peak physical condition. When it reaches its best racing weight, it may be worth a bet if the odds are favourable. On the other hand, a dog that is currently performing moderately, and whose weight is below that at which it has performed well in the past, should be treated with extreme caution.

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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