Trap Draw

A question that greyhound backers should always address when assessing a race is the significance of the draw. In many graded races the trap that the dog runs from is a major factor in the outcome of the race. Like the handicapper in horse racing, the greyhound track’s grader or racing manager will attempt to equalise the chances of the runners (and to keep the owners and trainers happy, but that’s another story!).

There are, however, constraints upon what he (or she) can do. In any particular grade there is a limited number of greyhounds to choose from, and that number is inevitably reduced because of dogs being temporarily unavailable due to sickness, injury or seasonal rest. Furthermore, when deciding on trap placings, the grader must consider the safety of the runners, and allocate traps according to a dog’s individual style of running. Some dogs will be seeded middle or wide runners, and can run from only those traps. Whilst trouble in a greyhound race can never be ruled out, the grader’s task is to minimise it. For example, a big, strapping dog running at a track with relatively tight bends may not be capable of maintaining a line close to the rail because of centrifugal forces on his body forcing him wide. So he will be seeded to run only from Traps 5 or 6.

The small, nippy types of greyhounds, though not seeded, may have shown in their trials or first few races that they prefer to hug the rails, and so will always be drawn in Traps 1 or 2. Not all railers, though are ‘true’ railers; some are just as happy to take a middle-to-rails course, and may subsequently show that they are not inconvenienced by running from Traps 3 or 4 either.

The grader, then, will allocate traps which will not compromise the greyhound’s safety, and which will give each dog a fair chance of winning the race. Knowing the dogs well, his thinking will be influenced by the dogs’ current form. Let’s take as examples the make-up of three A2 races. In the first, one of the dogs, a railer, narrowly won its previous race. This was also an A2 and, drawn in Trap 1, he led at the first bend and was never headed thereafter. The grader knows that this dog isn’t competitive in A1, so he keeps him in A2, but this time he puts the dog in Trap 2 with a faster starter in Trap 1. Now the dog has a much more difficult task. He is unlikely to get a clear run to the first bend and go round in front. The risk of crowding or bumping is much greater and his chances of success correspondingly smaller. In such cases the trap draw, more often than not, will have a significant bearing on the result of the race.

In the second race there is another last time out A2 winner, a wide runner with early pace. In his previous race, from Trap 6, he had inside him in Trap 5 a slow-starting middle-to-wide runner. Taking advantage of this favourable draw, he avoided trouble on the outside and won comfortably. Today, though, he’s in Trap 5, and the dog in Trap 6 is equally quick to the first bend. As a result, the previous winner’s chances are nowhere near so clear-cut this time.

In the third race there’s a bitch in Trap 4 that’s usually fast away but needs to lead to win. She’s won several A2 races with those tactics, but mostly from Trap 3. With an early-paced dog in Trap 3 today, will she still be able to lead up wearing the black jacket? Or will the dog in Trap 3, that’s been knocking on the door in recent races from Trap 4 without managing to get his head in front, now have the opportunity to gain compensation for his consistency? The draw could be the deciding factor.

So far we’ve been discussing the trap draw for graded races. Do the same considerations obtain in open races? It could be argued that the draw is not always so important, especially if the favourite’s form is markedly superior to that of the less fancied dogs. In these circumstances a poorly drawn dog can still overcome the disadvantage of his draw to win, even if denied a clear run in the early stages. Nevertheless, I’d be wary of backing it at a short price; and the shorter the distance of the race, the more cautious I’d be. If the race was over, say, six bends, which would allow the dog more time to recover from possible trouble in running, and the odds available took account of the dubious draw, then I might be tempted.

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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