Focus on Swindon (1)

Opened: 1952

Address: Abbey Stadium, Lady Lane, Blunsdon, Swindon, SN25 4DN

Main distances: 285m; 480m; 685m

Category One races: Pin Point Recruitment Arc (April); British Bred Two Year Old Produce Stakes (July)

Type of track: Big, galloping track; at 452 metres, second only to Hove in circumference; stamina a necessity; 100 metre run to first bend; relatively fewer incidents of trouble at first bend as compared with tighter tracks.

‘This is a very good galloping track. I would say you get as good a gallop here as anywhere in the country. You definitely need a strong-running dog.’ (Trainer Charlie Lister; quoted in ‘Charlie Lister on Greyhounds’: Julia Barnes: First Stone 2004).

Lister’s dual English Derby winner, Rapid Ranger, was beaten at Swindon early on in his career, but was subsequently found to have inflamed tonsils.

From a betting perspective, Swindon is one of my favourite tracks. The form seems to work out well here, no doubt helped by the fact that trouble at the bends is kept to a minimum. Ironically, it was at Swindon that the great staying dog, Scurlogue Champ, was thwarted in his attempt to run up a sequence of nineteen consecutive open race victories in 1985.Badly baulked at the fifth bend in a seven bend contest, he failed by half a length to overhaul the local runner Sunnyside Bess.

In 2014 the Pin Point Recruitment Arc, worth £8000 to the winner, was won by Liz and Rab McNair's brindle dog King Dec (by Eden Brett). The £15000 British Bred Two Year Old Produce Stakes went to trainer PJ Rosney’s aptly named Take The Crown, a brindle dog by Westmead Hawk.

Standard Times at Swindon

Horse racing time experts base their ratings for individual horses on a racecourse’s standard times for each distance. Standard time is the time that a good horse would take to run a given distance on good ground, carrying nine stones. The winner’s time is then compared with the standard time and, after adjustments for ground conditions and weight carried, a speed rating is arrived at. Ratings for the rest of the runners are calculated from the distance they finished behind the winner and weight carried.

In a similar way, standard times at a greyhound track can be calculated for each grade at a particular distance. The standard time would be the average time that a winner in that grade could be expected to record. To calculate the standard time, simply take at least 50 recent winning times in that grade and average them. These winning times will have been recorded on a variety of ground conditions, and so might include a going allowance assessed by the track’s racing office.

My Standard Times for Swindon 480m (A1 – A8) are as follows:

A1: 29.05
A2: 29.22
A3: 29.38
A4: 29.48
A5: 29.62
A6: 29.70
A7: 29.89
A8: 30.11

It is clearly useful to the punter to know the time that the average winning dog records in a given grade. For one thing, it then becomes possible to assess the overall quality of a race under review. Within any grade there will be races of varying quality. For example, the standard time for A4 grade at Swindon is 29.48 seconds. Let’s assume that on today’s card there are two A4 races. For the first, we add together the best A4 times recorded by each of the dogs in the last month, and divide by six to get the average, which works out at, say, 29.46 seconds. We do the same for the second race, and the average works out at 29.57seconds. From that we know that the first A4 is made up of runners that are of good quality for the grade, whereas the second is being contested by dogs that are moderate for the grade or are presently running moderately.

Now let’s further assume that in each of the two races is a dog that has won its previous race in A5 and is now upgraded to A4. From what I now know about the quality of the two races, I would be wary of backing the dog that has been upgraded to the good quality A4, but I would seriously consider the chances of the A5 dog in the second A4, where the opposition is not so strong.

For ease of comparison, I find it helpful to convert the raw times into a numerical speed rating. For Swindon, I give 30.00 seconds a value of 100 points. One point equals one hundredth of a second. I deduct points for times slower than 30.00, and add points for times faster than 30.00. Thus the standard times above would convert as follows: A1: 195; A2: 178; A3: 162; A4: 152; A5: 138; A6: 130; A7: 111; A8: 89.

More on Swindon 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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