Racecard comments: S - X

SH: Short Head

A short head is the minimum distance that a dog can win or lose by. It’s equivalent to a time of 0.01 seconds.

Ssn: Season

After a bitch’s name on the race card you might see the date of her last season, abbreviated as, for example, ‘ssn 24.6.16’. Rule 56 of the Rules and Regulations of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain states that ‘A bitch may not run in any trial or race after coming in season for a minimum of 21 days nor until, in the opinion of the racecourse veterinary surgeon, it is fit to do so subsequently.’

Bitches will have their first season between the ages of 12 and 24 months. The average length of time between seasons is six months, though some will go for nine or twelve months between seasons. As this is obviously disruptive in terms of a racing greyhound’s career, a trainer may artificially suppress a bitch’s season using permitted drugs. However this may affect a bitch’s subsequent breeding potential, and many trainers do not agree with suppressing a season. There may also be an advantage to allowing a bitch her natural season. A bitch returning from season will have lost some form and fitness, and may therefore have the opportunity to win races in a lower grade than normal as her fitness gradually returns.

Whilst a greyhound in season will have stopped bleeding after 21 days, her breast milk will take significantly longer to dry up, and many trainers won’t race their bitches until it has. Racing a bitch that is still in milk may have a detrimental effect on the thigh muscles of the back legs, so trainers will usually wait until it has dried up, which happens about twelve weeks after the start of her season. However trainers may sometimes feel under pressure to race their bitches as soon as possible after a season, depending upon the number of dogs available to race at the track.

When a bitch starts to trial and race again, she may need to lose a bit of weight and it will take a few runs for her to regain peak fitness. About sixteen weeks after her seasonal date, she should be ready to show her best form.

In his book, Charlie Lister on Greyhounds, the top trainer said that he kept a careful note of his bitches’ seasonal dates, as he noticed that they often ran particularly well just before coming into season.

T: Trial

A dog’s formlines on the race card will include how it has performed in recent trials as well as in actual races. There are numerous reasons why a dog may have been running in trials. It may be a puppy that has just joined the track’s racing strength, and will be placed in the appropriate grade depending upon how fast its trials are. Similarly, a dog transferring from another track will need to trial in. The triallist may be a bitch returning after her seasonal rest, or a dog that has been off for reasons of injury or illness. If a dog is trying a new distance, for example six bends rather than four, it will need to trial over that trip before competing in a race. A dog that has fallen or been knocked over in its previous race will also need to trial, as will a dog withdrawn from a race due to weight variation (see below).

According to Rule 47 of the GBGB Rules of Racing, a greyhound that has not run at the track before must run at least two satisfactory trials on separate days. The dog can also run a solo trial or with one other greyhound, but two of its trials must be with two other greyhounds.

Trials are useful in so far as they show what times a greyhound is capable of in an uncompetitive or less competitive situation. They also tell us where a dog is in terms of its fitness and well-being. What they don’t necessarily tell us, however, is how the dog will fare in the hurly-burly of a six dog race. A greyhound can only replicate its trial times if it is able to secure a clear run. For that reason it is dangerous to rely on a dog’s trial times alone when assessing a race.

Wtg: Waiting

This is a comment that you definitely don’t want to see in the formlines of a dog that you’re thinking of backing. A few dogs will hit the front in their races, but instead of going on to win, they will wait, seeking company, until other dogs have caught up with them. Beware, too, of ‘chasers’ – dogs that have the ability to beat their rivals but prefer to slot in behind the leader and stay there. Dogs that have a suspiciously large number of second places in their previous races may fall into this category.

Wt Vr: Weight Variation

In a dog’s formlines you may see that it has been withdrawn from a race it was due to contest because of a variation in its weight from its previous race or trial. A greyhound will be withdrawn from its intended race if it is lighter or heavier by more than one kilo, and it will then have to run in at least one trial before racing again. A greyhound will have an ideal racing weight, at which it is fit, healthy and likely to run to its maximum potential. A dog that is heavier than normal may not be fully fit; if lighter, it may be out of sorts.

X: Returning from …

When a greyhound has been off the card for whatever reason, and is trialling back in, the explanation for its absence may be preceded by the letter X. So in the case of a dog that has been off due to lameness, its formlines will have the comment ‘X–lameness’.

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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