Upgraded Dogs

Continuing on from last month’s discussion on dogs that have been downgraded and their subsequent chance of winning in the lower grade, we’ll look now at dogs that have been upgraded after a win. Does that generally act as a brake on their success? If not, which dogs may be capable of defying the racing manager’s imposition?

The most fruitful area of investigation is the young greyhound that is improving with experience. Once a dog reaches the age of 18 months it is eligible to be graded in at its local track on the basis of the times it records in three trials. At first it may not be able to reproduce its trial times in its allocated grade; after all, a six dog race is very different to a solo, two dog or three dog trial. Perhaps for the first time the dog has to contend with being crowded or bumped, and it may not yet have learned how to avoid trouble. But the experience of these early races will teach a young greyhound a measure of trackcraft. Once the penny drops progress can be rapid. At the same time a dog’s ability to break fast and cleanly from the traps will improve, and this will be reflected in faster and more consistent sectional times.

Improving young dogs can never be ruled out as potential winners, even if they are raised more than one grade. When analysing a race I treat all such dogs with caution as they are, almost invariably, contenders. My personal preference is not to back them, as it means making assumptions about their ability to successfully negotiate an upgrade, and I prefer to back greyhounds with the form already in the book. Instead, I will usually decide that the race isn’t fit to play, and I will leave it alone.

Many punters, however, are willing to take the risk of backing a dog to do something that it’s never done before. In those circumstances it makes good sense, whether betting at the track, in the bookmaker’s or on the exchanges, to keep a close eye on the market. A track’s local punters are usually pretty clued up about which young dogs have the potential to take an upgrade in their stride. Heavy support for an upgraded young dog is a signal that further improvement is expected.

Inevitably that money sometimes remains with the layers, but the confidence should not be forgotten when the dog next appears. Losses may only be lent. A recent example is the running of Swindon grader Chaseaway Wink, a black dog by Blackstone Gene, whelped in March 2013. After three trials in December 2014/January 2015 he made his debut in A3 on 24th January. The race didn’t go to plan; he showed early speed and led to the second bend but was involved in scrimmaging at the third bend and trailed in last, 10¾ lengths behind the winner. That experience clearly left its mark, as Chaseaway Wink wasn’t seen again until 14th March, when he won a two dog trial in moderate time and restarted his career in A4. A couple of promising runs followed, and on 3rd April he broke his duck on his third outing in A4, leading at the second bend and recording a time of 29.42 seconds (the A4 average at Swindon, according to my statistics, is 29.48 seconds).

Chaseaway Wink was duly noted by the racing manager as an improving young greyhound, and on 10th April was upgraded to A3. Punters were quick to latch on to Chaseaway Wink’s progressive form, and he was backed down to 6/4 favourite to beat several more experienced A3 dogs. On this occasion he wasn’t able to get clear of his rivals, crowding at the first corner and dropping out to finish last. On that evidence it would have been reasonable to suppose that Chaseaway Wink wasn’t ready to compete in A3, but punters who had perhaps burned their fingers were more than happy to give him a second chance. Again made favourite on 15th April, he led early and was never headed from that point, winning by 4¾ lengths.

A strong clue that a young dog is making rapid progress is when it records a fast time for the grade. In Chaseaway Wink’s case, his A4 win in 29.42 seconds was only slightly better than the A4 average of 29.48; however, the average winning time for A3 is 29.38, not that much quicker than A4. So Chaseaway Wink was entitled to improve sufficiently to win in A3. The Swindon regulars, though, must have been aware that he had much more than normal improvement in him, which would explain his short price when beaten in his first A3. He proved that running to be all wrong when winning his next A3 in 29.07, an exceptional time for the grade. This was faster than the A2 average (29.22), and on a par with an average A1 time (29.05). At the time of writing Chaseaway Wink has continued to improve, and has won twice in A2, in the second of these races recording a time of 28.96.

Following on from my standard times for Swindon (February 2015 blog), and Romford (April 2015), here are my times for Newcastle:

Newcastle Standard Times (480m)
A1: 28.98 (based on limited data)
A2: 29.04
A3: 29.29
A4: 29.42
A5: 29.59
A6: 29.78
A7: 29.94
A8: 30.12

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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