Advice From The Greyhound Betting Experts (2)

In this month’s blog, some more words of wisdom on greyhound betting offered by Liam Connolly in his 1988 booklet Greyhound Racing for Profit. Giving advice on using recorded times as a basis for form study, he says that trying to make sense of greyhounds’ finishing times when recorded in seconds and fractions of a second, and perhaps achieved in a variety of grades, can be confusing. For that reason he prefers to convert these raw times into timefigures (he calls this a ‘time index’), using the number 100 as a base figure. He suggests choosing a grade – he uses A3 as an example, but says it would be ok to use a lower grade – and then working out the average winning time for at least 50 races in that grade, and giving that average time a value of 100. Then, making 0.01 seconds equal to one point, he deducts points from 100 for times slower than the average, and adds points to 100 for times faster than the average.

As an example of how his time index works Connolly chooses the now defunct Hackney track, where the average time for A3 grade was 30.20 seconds. If you give this time a value of 100, the mathematics of converting all other times to a timefigure are relatively simple, and times recorded in different grades are easily compared, as follows:

30.20 seconds = 100
A3: 30.10 seconds = 110
A2: 29.85 seconds = 135
A4: 30.38 seconds = 82

Connolly uses the resulting timefigures to analyse forthcoming races, but with certain caveats. He only takes into account form (as measured by the clock) that has been achieved in ‘reliable’ races – that is, races where the greyhounds had an opportunity to show their ability without being bumped, baulked or otherwise impeded in their run. Furthermore, he ignores the time ratings of dogs that finished more than four lengths behind the winner, considering the form of well beaten dogs to be unreliable. When rating a race, he regards with suspicion timefigures achieved in a lower grade than the race being reviewed, reasoning that upgraded dogs often fail to reproduce their best time in a higher grade.

Having said that, there is a situation where an upgraded dog may be the one to be on. One of the advantages of keeping a time index is that it immediately becomes clear whether the race under analysis is weak, average or strong for the grade. For example, when looking at an A3 race, if the times of the experienced A3 runners are on the slow side for the grade, these dogs could be vulnerable to a young, improving dog having its first run in A3 after a fast time win in A4.

Connolly discusses the different racing styles that greyhounds develop, and distinguishes between those that should be avoided and those to look out for. He warns against backing ‘chasers’ – dogs which, though consistent, always seem to find one too good – and ‘faders’, dogs that may be fast in the early stages of a race but struggle to stay the trip and are vulnerable to stronger finishers. On the other hand, he recommends support for early-paced railers with proven stamina whose sectional times make them favourite to hit the first bend in front. Even better, Connolly suggests, is the wide runner that comes with a power-packed finish to pick off his rivals in the straight. Age, though, is a factor in both cases; Connolly won’t back an early-paced railer older than 3½ years, or a wide late-finisher older than 4 years.

Connolly likes to keep an eye on bitches returning from seasonal rest. Though they may initially run below form, once bitches start to improve (usually around 16 to 20 weeks after their seasonal date) progress can be rapid. He advises waiting until a bitch has actually won a race, rather than just a trial, before backing her. She should also have recorded the fastest recent time in the race. Connolly is keen on backing bitches in races over six bends, provided they have winning form over the trip. He considers their stamina to be more reliable than that of a male dog in a fast run race.

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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