Racecard comments: H

Hcp: Handicap

Several tracks, mainly in the north of the country, stage handicap racing. It is popular with local race goers, though it is considered by many to pose more problems from a betting angle than level break, graded racing. Handicaps can be staged over sprint, standard or extended distances. The traps are placed at varying distances from the starting line; the dog in trap 6 – the ‘scratch’ dog – starts on the line. The other traps are placed at up to fourteen metres in front of the line, with Trap 1 having the greatest allowance. In this way dogs of varying abilities can be brought together so that, in theory at least, they all have an equal chance of winning.

The advantage of handicap racing from the punter’s point of view is that the dogs are relatively spread out at the first and second bends, and so are more likely to avoid the crowding that occurs here in graded racing. Against this is the argument that the greyhounds’ times from previous races are more difficult to compare accurately, though personally I see no reason why that shouldn’t be possible. It’s generally accepted that in greyhound racing one length is equal to 0.08 seconds. When, after a race has been run, racing managers are taking the handicap into account when deciding on a dog’s final time, they also consider 0.08 seconds to be equal to one metre. For example, a dog wins a handicap race from Trap 1, receiving a start of twelve metres, in a time of 29.30 seconds. The going is normal, and so there is no going allowance. The dog’s final, adjusted time is therefore 29.30 + (12 x 0.08 secs) = 30.26 secs. These adjusted times seem to work well enough when used to assess a forthcoming handicap race.

Many years ago, when I first became fascinated – not to say obsessed – by greyhound racing, I used to try my luck in the six-bend handicaps at Brough Park. I kept a record of my bets over a period of several months. My own time ratings were the basis on which I made my selections, though they weren’t the sole factor. Fortunes were mixed, it has to be said, but at the end of the period I found that I had achieved a 32% winning percentage, and a profit on turnover of 29%. Beneath the list of winning and losing bets I made the following comments:

1. The time ratings are of immense value in deciding which dogs have a realistic chance in a particular race.

2. If two dogs stand out, it’s best to back the one at longer odds. Alternatively, back both if the odds permit.

3. Look out for dogs which are particularly well suited by extremes of going, and back them when conditions are right.

4. Favour game, courageous dogs that can come to challenge again after being headed.

Tracks currently staging handicap racing include Newcastle, Perry Barr, Shawfield (all handicap racing), Sheffield, Sunderland, and Swindon.

Hd: Head

A head is the distance by which a greyhound involved in a tight finish might win or lose. In terms of time, a head is equivalent to 0.02 seconds. An even shorter distance than this is the short head (SH), equivalent to 0.01 seconds. Slightly longer than both is the neck (Nk), at 0.03 seconds. These terms, together with ¼ length, ½ length, ¾ length 1 length (or more) are used to describe the distance between any two dogs in a race, irrespective of where they finish.

The following list of times/distances is standard:

Short head: 0.01 secs; Head: 0.02 secs; Neck: 0.03 secs; ¼ length: 0.02 secs; ½ length: 0.04 secs; ¾ length: 0.06 secs; 1 length: 0.08 secs.

It may seem odd that a neck is considered to be 0.03 seconds, whereas ¼ length, which would appear to be a longer distance, is only 0.02 seconds. The reason seems to be that the electronically recorded times of the dogs in any race are accurate, but the distances are merely approximations. For example, when I carried out a survey of the time / distance relationships at Peterborough, I found that a distance described as ¼ length (when applied to distances between dogs of 2¼, 3¼, 4¼ lengths etc.) could represent a time difference of anywhere between 0.01 and 0.03 seconds.

Here’s a similar example from a recent Peterborough card:

27.08.2016. 20.31. A3 (435m).

1. Eleveneightfifty 26.39
2. Not A Drop 26.60 (2¾)
3. Bossy Boots 26.67 (¾)

The difference in time between the winner, Eleveneightfifty, and the second, Not A Drop, was 0.21 seconds. If we assume that one length is 0.08 seconds, then the 2¾ lengths between them represents 2 x 0.08 seconds + 0.05 seconds for the extra ¾ length. However, the time difference between Not A Drop and the third, Bossy Boots is 0.07 seconds, and that is also measured at ¾ length. So the distance of ¾ length can represent a time difference of between 0.05 and 0.07 seconds.

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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