Keeping An Online Formbook

Anyone who has read my book, Greyhound Racing: Make It Pay, or who has followed this blog over the years, will be aware of the importance I attach to researching the lifetime form of a greyhound before having a bet on it. Of course, it’s not always possible to do that, especially if you’re at the track for a night out with the family or just popping into the local bookies in your lunch hour. In those circumstances you just have to rely on the lines of form on the racecard or in the Racing Post, and it’s entirely possible to back a few winners that way.

But if you’re serious about making a long-term profit from greyhound racing, I believe that it’s necessary to have access to as much information about individual dogs as possible. And the beauty of it is, the racing greyhound is such a wonderfully consistent athlete, and runs so frequently, that you can build up an accurate picture of its individual characteristics, and use that profile to inform your betting.

The other night I was watching live greyhound racing on the Racing Post Greyhound TV channel (Sky 212; Freesat 401) from Crayford and Newcastle. One of the guests on the show was Northumberland breeder and trainer Jimmy Fenwick. Not only did he talk a huge amount of good sense about greyhound racing in general; he had also taken the trouble to find out as much about the form of the greyhounds racing that night at Crayford as he could; indeed, he spoke as knowledgeably about the dogs at Crayford as about those at his home track, Newcastle, and he tipped winners at both tracks. He’d clearly researched the Crayford form carefully, and it paid off.

That’s the great thing about betting on the dogs: serious form study, in my experience, rewards the punter who is prepared to make the effort. And that brings me back to the crux of the matter, which is that having a dog’s lifetime form at your fingertips when assessing a race allows you to estimate its chances more accurately. For example, you are quickly able to see from its previous runs if it has winning form from its trap draw; if it has won in the current grade; and what its running style is like. You won’t necessarily be able to obtain all this information from the racecard or betting shop wall display.

What you need to do is to compile your own formbook, and the most convenient way to do that is to keep an up-to-date, online record of the form of the dogs at the tracks that you prefer to bet at. The key is to specialise: it would be impossible to cover the whole spectrum of tracks, and each grade at those tracks. So, to keep record keeping to manageable proportions, limit your formbook to a small number of tracks. I confine most of my betting to two tracks only, and I bet occasionally at three or four others. Furthermore, I bet only in graded races, and mostly in A3 grade. I wouldn’t have time to maintain a formbook for a greater number of dogs. At present I have about 450 greyhounds in my formbook, which I update when I assess a race in which they are running.

Below I’ve reproduced a small section of my formbook for Swindon (A3 grade):

06/01/16 Dunquin House (Droopys Scolari) bk b Dec 12; A2: 2-19; A3: 5-22; Tr 6; w; incons tr; ars

20/01/16 Eastville Girl (Jordansoilutions) wbk b Aug 13; A3: 6-18; Tr 2; r or r-m; ep

20/01/16 Esker Bellew (Makeshift) bk b Dec 12; A3: 1-5; Tr 2; r; mp

20/01/16 Extra Time (Westmead Hawk) wbd d Nov 12; A2: 2-14; A3: 1-3; Tr 3/Tr4; m; sa; mp; ro

20/01/16 Few Scoops (Westmead Hawk) wbk b Oct 13; A3: 0-4; Tr 2; was r-m; now m; sl-av tr; ro

23/10/16 Fleetwood Kittie (Fleetwood Root) wbk b Jun 12; A2: 2-12; A3: 6-22; Tr 1/Tr 2; r; can be qu aw; ep

23/01/16 Forest Lexie (Lenson Bolt) bk b Jun 12; A2: 4-21; A3: 4-16; Tr 6; w; incons tr; ep

06/01/16 Fridays Aileen (Razldazl Jayfkay) bk b Sep 13; A2: 1-12; A3: 1-3; Tr 6; w; ep

23/09/15 Global Alice (Kinloch Brae) bk b Jul 12; A3: 3-21; Tr 3; r-m or m; ep

24/06/15 Global Pass (Crash) bk d May 12; A3: 4-18; Tr 4; m; sl-av tr; ep; now running at Hall Green

21/10/15 Graysfield Rose (Razldazl Jayfkay) bd b Dec 13; A3: 0-2; Tr 6; w; sl-av tr; ep; mp

Key to abbreviations:

bk b: black bitch; bk d: black dog; bd b: brindle bitch; wbk b: white and black bitch; wbd d: white and brindle dog.

r: rails; r-m: rails to middle; m: middle.

qu aw: quick away; sa: slow away; sl-av tr: slow to average trapper; incons tr: inconsistent trapper.

ep: early pace; mp: middle pace; ro: runs on; ars: all round speed.

Next month I’ll discuss keeping an online formbook in more detail.

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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