Recording and Reviewing Your Bets

If I were to hazard a guess at the percentage of punters who maintain a record of all their greyhound bets, win or lose, the figure would be unlikely to exceed the number of dogs in the 2.08 at Crayford! As soon as their selection has passed the post, some will be queuing up for their winnings at the track or in the betting shop, while others will be reflecting ruefully on the bump at the first bend that knocked their dog out of contention. Whether they won or lost, most will have one eye on the next race, the one just gone consigned to history’s form book. That’s all perfectly natural; most punters are fatalistic about the results of their betting, and don’t really expect to make a profit in the long run. So long as they are betting with money they can afford to lose, and enjoying their involvement in a wonderful sport featuring canine athletes endowed with grace and speed, what’s not to like?

But the greyhound punter whose aim is to make a regular profit from his (or her) bets can’t afford to take a cavalier approach. I don’t subscribe to the view of George Bernard Shaw, who once said that ‘we learn from history that we learn nothing from history’. In the field of greyhound racing, at least, there’s much to be learnt from past results, especially in terms of not repeating errors of judgement. That’s why I advocate keeping an accurate written record of all your bets. You should be able, at a glance, to see your profit and loss on a sequence of bets over the last week, month or year, and be able quickly to calculate percentage profit or loss on turnover. I can’t recommend reliance on memory alone; the insidious combination of fallibility and selectivity may well result in an incomplete and, possibly, unduly favourable recollection of your bets.

Record keeping, together with a regular review of your bets, helps you to see what you’re doing right and, perhaps more importantly, where you’re going wrong. If you are a backer rather than a layer you will, inevitably, back more losers than winners. The prices you bet at will determine whether you win or lose overall, but a close analysis of your losing bets could boost your strike rate considerably. Any such analysis should focus on the structure of the race – in particular, the trap draw and the running styles of the six dogs.

Let’s say that you’ve looked at a race and decided that the dog in Trap 1 has an outstanding chance: early pace, best on time, a recent winner in the grade, and apparently fully deserving of its position at the head of the market. Your money goes down; Trap 1 breaks well, but the dog in the blue jacket is quicker away, tracks over to the rails and blocks Trap 1’s run. Trap 3 cuts in at the first bend and Trap 1 is caught in a pocket with nowhere to go. By the time he sees daylight in the back straight, his chance has gone and he trails home in fourth place, three lengths behind Trap 2, who had led from trap to line.

Was this simply an unlucky run from your selection? Would he have won this race nine times out of ten? Or were there clues in the structure of the race to suggest that his task was in fact more difficult than it looked? Record keeping is much more than just writing down your winning and losing bets. It must also involve an analysis of the result to see if your pre-race study overlooked any important factors that affected the outcome. In the example above, the following points were not taken into consideration:

  1. The dog in Trap 2 was a railer, and his recent sectional times (that is, the time it takes to run from the traps to the winning line first time round) were consistently faster than Trap1’s. It was therefore highly likely that Trap 1, despite his early pace, would have his ground taken on the run to the first bend.
  2. A glance at Trap 3’s lifetime form (available on either the Racing Post’s or the Greyhound Board of Great Britain’s website) would have shown that this dog usually ran from Trap 2, and preferred a rails-to-middle course. This increased the chance of crowding inside.
  3. Trap 1 had a good win ratio in the grade, but all his wins had been after leading from the traps or before the first bend. In none of his previous runs had he shown the ability or the determination to come from behind to win his race.

Recording and reviewing your bets help you to distinguish between your good and bad bets – which are not necessarily the same as your winning and losing bets. For instance, I’ve just layed a greyhound on the exchanges which I didn’t fancy at all, despite its being given a favourite’s chance by the tipsters in the Racing Post and on Betfair. I thought their assessment of its chances was flawed, and was prepared to back my opinion against theirs. In the event, the dog finished second, and could easily have won. So I struck a winning bet, but I can’t say that it was a good bet because my judgement was faulty.

For many punters, the natural reaction after a losing bet is to try to back a winner as soon as possible in order to retrieve losses. This is, more often than not, a recipe for disaster, as these bets are often badly thought out and result in a succession of losers that could and should have been avoided. The discipline of recording all bets compels you to focus on their quality – or lack of it. And, on the positive side, few things are more satisfying than recording winning bets, watching your profits steadily increasing and having your betting strategy vindicated.

THE LONDON MARATHON (No, not the one over 874m at Crayford!)

To all readers of my blog, generous souls that you are: I’m running in this year’s Virgin London Marathon on 13th April to raise money for the charity World Horse Welfare, which does fantastic work in rescuing abused and abandoned horses and ponies in the UK and elsewhere. It also runs courses in developing countries to teach people how to treat their working animals humanely, and campaigns against the transportation of live horses for slaughter, often carried out over long distances without food or water. If you would like to sponsor me (and any donation, large or small, would be really appreciated), you can donate via my fundraising page at Where it says Make A Donation, just type in Steve Sugden to go to my page.


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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