Qualities Of The Successful Backer

In my 2009 book, Greyhound Racing: Make It Pay (High Stakes Publishing), I set out some of the attributes that would be useful to greyhound backers in order to give themselves the best chance of long-term success. Revisiting my notes, I find that those qualities are just as relevant now as they were then.

Firstly, try to be disciplined in your betting. You should plan your day’s bets before the meetings start and then stick to that plan. You should not only decide what greyhounds you’re going to back, but also the minimum price you’re prepared to accept. If you think that a dog is good value at 4/1 but not at a shorter price, don’t be tempted to back it if, say, it opens at 3/1 and shortens to 5/2. It may win, but in the long run you will lose if you back dogs that start at odds that don’t represent their true chance of winning according to your reading of the form.

You may be watching the live market on an upcoming race in which you had considered having a bet, but which you finally decided was too difficult to weigh up. As the greyhounds are being put in the traps, the odds being offered on a dog that you vaguely fancied are much bigger than you anticipated. The temptation to have a bet is almost too strong to ignore. Self-discipline will be required to let the race pass without getting involved.

Patience is a vital component in the character of the successful backer. Waiting for the right race plays a big part in determining whether you make your betting pay. You may spend an hour analysing a race and come to the conclusion that it is too closely graded to bet with any confidence. In these circumstances you have to accept the situation, consider the time well spent, and keep your money in your pocket. You haven’t missed an opportunity; your form study has confirmed that the opportunity didn’t exist.

The exercise of self-discipline – and I write from bitter experience here – is needed to stop yourself from chasing losses. On more than one occasion I have seen my profits on a long and steady run of success dissipated by a rash attempt to retrieve losses quickly. Either I have bet in races without my usual careful analysis of the form, or I have increased my usual stake without justification.

Chasing losses usually involves backing greyhounds without having confidence in their chance of winning, and will very quickly deplete your betting bank. However, self-confidence, if not misplaced, is a quality that most successful backers possess. If you lack self-confidence you will hesitate to back your judgement in the live betting market. Your decision about what to back in a particular race should have been made long before the market is live. If the odds are acceptable you must have the confidence to see that decision through.

Self-confidence means that you are comfortable about risking your money. The outcome of a bet is never certain, though your preparation, if thorough, should have minimised the risk of losing. But it’s impossible to eliminate risk completely, because all sorts of things can happen in a greyhound race that can’t be anticipated. The chances of a dog finding trouble in a race are ever-present. So you must be prepared for losing bets, and quite a lot of them. Winning overall will depend on the long-term accuracy of your form reading, and the odds that you secure on your winning bets. If your bet loses, always try to take something positive for the future from the experience. Go back to your analysis of the race and, if you made a mistake, learn from it. Did you underestimate the opposition? Did you pay too much or too little attention to one particular factor? Was it simply bad luck in running? If there is a lesson to be learned – and there usually is – learn it and move on.

The ability to pay close attention to the betting market in the minutes before a race is crucial to long-term success, especially if you’re betting on the exchanges. The odds can change very quickly and you have to be ready to click on the dog you want to back or lay. All over the country there will be other punters waiting for the same opportunity, and the favourable odds will be snapped up in a split-second by someone else if you allow your concentration to lapse.

Betting should be fun. It goes without saying that you should only bet what you can comfortably afford to lose. But enjoy the whole process of working out your bets, and then getting the best possible price for your selections, either at the track if you’re betting with the bookmakers, in the betting shop or online. Be passionate about every aspect of your betting, whatever selection techniques you employ: Whether you favour recent form, times, trap draw, monitoring the progress of individual dogs, following the betting market, or any combination of these factors, having an enthusiastic, positive mind-set makes betting a pleasure and, psychologically, can only be an aid to success.

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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