Advice from the betting experts (3)

‘Win at Greyhound Racing’ was written by H. Edwards Clarke in 1974 (published by Stanley Paul) and additional material was added in 1988 by Oldcastle Books. There have been many changes in greyhound racing in the intervening years, but Edwards Clarke’s ideas on how to pick winners at the track are still just as relevant today. Over the next couple of months I shall focus on some of the interesting points he makes.

In his chapter on how to assess a greyhound Edwards Clarke emphasises that sheer speed or pace is by no means the only quality that a good racing greyhound requires. Just as important is its ability to run a bend with minimum effort and maximum effectiveness. To do this well the greyhound must have excellent balance, co-ordination and muscular control. It would seem to follow from this that the dog that can hug the rails has superior control to the one that is unable to resist the centrifugal forces acting upon its body to push it wide. Clearly the contours of the track and the size of the dog will both have a bearing on this, but Edwards Clarke suggests another reason why a dog may be a wide runner: he may run towards the outside hare simply through an instinctive urge to catch it. By running wide a dog may also be able to use the extra space to stretch out in a way that the railer can’t.

Edwards Clarke produces some statistics on how much more ground a middle or wide runner must cover than a railer in an average race (he cites the 525 yard trip at White City, a defunct track much lamented, and not only by the Pogues!) The railer is calculated to cover 525 yards, the middle runner 531 yards and the wide runner 535 yards.

Of course, a tight railer’s advantage is immediately nullified if he’s also a slow trapper, and gets stuck in traffic before he reaches the first bend. The ability to blast from the boxes is, in Edwards Clarke’s opinion, a gift that some greyhounds are either born with or acquire naturally, and that schooling has only a limited part to play. It may be that the fast trappers anticipate the lids going up by listening for the initial click of the mechanical spring.

Also a gift – and a vital one – is early pace: ‘the gulf between bottom grade and top grade largely begins here,’ says Edwards Clarke. If a dog has the pace to lead into the first bend it is a huge advantage, and the only way it’s going to be beaten from there is by a better dog or by not staying the trip. So the writer advises the greyhound punter to put early pace at the top of a list of form factors will repay close study.

One attribute which is possessed by the best racing greyhounds is versatility. Open race dogs need to be able to adapt to the shapes and contours of different tracks. In Edwards Clarke’s day there were a lot more greyhound tracks than there are now, and the surfaces on which the dogs were asked to race also varied – sand, grass or a combination of the two. Today surfaces are more uniform but there are still significant differences in track layout. All tracks are oval in shape but some have much tighter bends than others and the banking of the bends can vary too. Another variation is the distance between the traps and the first bend. Given the advantage a dog has if able to lead at the first bend, tracks with a long run from the traps to the bend will hand just such an advantage to fast trappers with early pace.

Only top class dogs can produce their best on a variety of different tracks, in fast and slow underfoot conditions and at different trips. But an important aspect of versatility that the punter should look out for, in both open and graded racing, is the ability to avoid trouble. Usually referred to as trackcraft, this may also be a skill that greyhounds are born with.

More from ‘Win at Greyhound Racing’ 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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