What’s a "grade within a grade"? (1)

At most greyhound tracks there are around eight or nine grades over the standard four bend distance, with A1 being the top grade and A8/9 the bottom. As a result of its performance in trials – measured against the clock – a new arrival at the track will be placed in the appropriate grade, and will then move up or down the grades in accordance with its subsequent success or failure. By the age of around 2½ years most greyhounds have shown what they are capable of. Having found its class level, a dog may remain in or around that grade for much of its career.

So, if all the dogs that run in, say, A3 grade at a certain track are of a similar ability, how can the punter differentiate between them when weighing up a race? Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with my thoughts on which factors affect the outcome of a graded race. Last month, for example, I wrote about the effect of the trap draw, and in previous blogs I’ve discussed the importance of basic speed and recent form.

One element of form assessment that I haven’t touched upon is the existence of ‘grades within a grade’. Again using A3 grade as an example, within that A3 grade there will be strong, moderate and weak levels of competitiveness. Knowing whether the race is a high, middle or low level A3 is useful information to the punter. This begs two questions: firstly, how do you determine the level of competitiveness of a race within a certain grade; and, secondly, how can you use that to your advantage?

Today we’ll look at the simplest way of determining the ‘grade within a grade’: recorded times. This method consists of averaging the best recent times of the runners, according to the following rules:

1. Use the best time recorded by each dog in the last month, in the same grade as the current race, or in a higher grade. So, if you are assessing an A3 race, and a dog has run 29.80 seconds in A3 and 29.75 in A2, use the A2 time.

2. Don’t use times recorded in a lower grade than the current race. If five dogs have A3 times and one has only A4 times, average the five A3 times and ignore the A4 time. That’s because you can’t rely on a dog reproducing a time recorded in a grade lower than the current race. A dog may have run a fast time in A4 or A5 last time out because he was able to break quickly, establish a clear lead by the first bend and go on to win unchallenged. Now upgraded, and with possibly quicker and stronger dogs on either side, he may not get the clear run necessary to repeat his fast time. This is especially true of older dogs that are basically of A4 class and have been in good form in that grade but are now trying A3. It’s true that a young, improving dog may be capable of reproducing his A4 time in A3, but there’s no way of being sure about this, and so I prefer not to include in my assessment times recorded in a lower grade.

Below are three examples of A3 races run at Swindon, together with the best times recorded by the dogs in the previous month. To judge whether a race is strong, average or weak for the grade, it’s useful to know the average time of a winner in that grade. My statistics show that the average winning time in A3 at Swindon is 29.35 seconds. You can work out the average winning time for any grade at any track by taking at least 50 recent winning times in that grade and calculating the average.

For ease of comparison I’ll convert that average winning time of 29.35 seconds to a timefigure by using 30.00 seconds as a base and giving that a value of 100. For times faster than 30.00 seconds, add points to 100; for times slower than 30.00 seconds, deduct points from 100. So 29.35 seconds is 0.65 seconds, or 65/100ths of a second, faster than 30.00 seconds; therefore the timefigure for 29.35 seconds is 100 + 65 = 165. So the average timefigure for an A3 winner at Swindon is 165.

Example 1: 5th December 2012 (Strong A3)

Tr 1: Moody Mare 29.18 (182)
Tr 2: Kilpedder Impact 29.35 (165)
Tr 3: Cals Avenger 29.41 (159)
Tr 4: Bossy Brid 29.23 (177)
Tr 5: Snaffi Bandit 29.25 (175)
Tr 6: Ballymac Shaw A4 29.22 (A4 178): not included

Average time: 29.29 (171)

Example 2: 5th December 2012 (Average A3)

Tr 1: Captain Messi A2 29.28 (A2 172)
Tr 2: Dromana Racer 29.32 (168)
Tr 3: Hero Jack 29.45 (155)
Tr 4: Toystory Forsure 29.91 (109)
Tr 5: Bealady Rover A2 29.54 (A2 146)
Tr 6: Smack A Rooner 29.36 (164)

Average time: 29.48 (152)

Example 3: 19th December 2012 (Weak A3)

Tr 1: Turnpike Indie 29.75 (125)
Tr 2: Grazeley Eric 29.67 (133)
Tr 3: Toystory Forsure 29.49 (151)
Tr 4: Rosey Mall A4 29.47 (A4 153): not included
Tr 5: Offshore Cruise 29.67 (133)
Tr 6: Lisnakill King 29.70 (130)

Average time: 29.86 (114)

More on this subject next month

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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