Greyhound Racing: Make It Pay (2)

Essentially, my approach to finding winners in greyhound racing is to know as much as I possibly can about individual dogs. That means knowing more about a dog than anyone else except its trainer and connections. Every time you place a bet you are backing your judgement against someone else’s. To be successful in the long term you need to be making decisions based on all the information that’s available. In greyhound racing, that means having readily to hand a dog’s lifetime form in order to build up a profile of its capabilities. Unfortunately, there’s no greyhound form book to do the hard work for you, so you have to compile your own.

Of course, the corollary to a detailed study of individual dogs is the necessity to specialise. To try to keep tabs on the form of greyhounds competing in the various grades at around thirty tracks would be an impossible task. So decide which tracks you want to bet at, and in which grades. I prefer to bet at big, wide, galloping tracks that minimise trouble at the bends and give a chance to all the runners. So far as grades are concerned I only bet in the higher grades since form tends to be more consistent. A3 is my favourite grade, and I go no lower than A4.

For each dog I advise compiling a lifetime form sheet. You can find the form on the official website of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain, Print it off, and then keep it up to date. Whilst recent form is one of the most important factors in graded racing, it is also extremely useful to have an overview of a dog’s past form so that you can build a profile of the conditions that suit it best and its running style. For example, a lifetime form sheet will show whether a railer is adaptable enough to run equally well from Trap 1 or Trap 2, or if it can only perform when drawn next to the rails. Similarly, it will highlight a greyhound’s pace pattern: how well it traps, whether it shows speed to the first bend, if it has middle pace or a strong finish. These factors tend to be consistent throughout a dog’s career.

Greyhound form can’t be properly assessed without reference to race times. The numerical embodiment of a greyhound’s speed, race times are the holy grail of greyhound betting and, handled correctly, they go further than any other method in revealing the intrinsic merit of a performance. As an aid to clear comparison, I always convert race times, expressed in seconds and fractions of a second, to a timefigure. I do the same for sectional times (the time it takes a dog to run from the traps to the finish line first time around).

Time, as a concept in greyhound racing, is inextricably tied in with class. A greyhound’s times can’t be considered in isolation; they have true validity only in the grade in which they were achieved. Class acts as a barrier that prevents a dog from climbing higher than its natural ability allows. It may be capable of winning in fast time in A5, but unless it is a young, improving dog, a rise in grade will usually be enough to prevent it from reproducing that time. Up against better class dogs, the clear run necessary to repeat its fast time is unlikely to materialise.

As a greyhound runs more races and its form accumulates, its form sheet should be annotated appropriately. Initially, your notes on a young dog’s form may simply read ‘Rails; early pace.’ By the time it has run a dozen races you may be able to add to that description: ‘Rails or rails-middle; can be slow away; early pace.’ After a year on the track that may have altered again: ‘Rails or rails-middle; average traps; early pace; middle pace.’ As well as comments on a greyhound’s trap preferences, trapping ability and pace pattern, you may also find it helpful to note the following: a dog’s trackcraft, by which I mean how often it manages to get a clear run; whether it is on a long losing run; betting market indications; and absences from the track due to injury or season.

When you want to analyse a forthcoming race, you can extract the form sheets for the six dogs, and from them simply jot down for each dog its up to date form. To make a worthwhile comparison of the form, you first need to note its record in the grade in which it is competing. Your lifetime form sheets may reveal that the dog in Trap 1 has no wins from twelve starts in the grade, whereas Trap 2 has a record of five wins from fifteen starts. Which dog would you rather be on? Then you should note the following: whether it is suited by its trap draw; its recent sectional times and recent form (I advise limiting this to the last month); whether it is likely to get a clear run; its best recent time for the grade; and its overall profile.

Only when I have all this information to hand do I even contemplate having a bet. But it is time well spent. The advantage of this approach is that you can see at a glance which dogs are serious contenders and which are there to make up the numbers.

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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