Specialisation (2)

Last month I suggested that there were three areas in which the backer might consider specialising. Specialisation cuts down the amount of form study required, and so facilitates a deeper knowledge of a limited number of greyhounds. We considered the possibility of confining betting to a small number of tracks, and this month we’ll think about specialising either in a specific type of race, or in one particular distance.

Type of race

Open Races

Concentrating on open racing has the advantage of betting only on the better class of greyhound. For that reason most would agree that form in good open races can generally be relied upon, especially in the Category One, Two and Three races which cater for the best greyhounds running in the UK. There are also many minor open races which may offer sound betting opportunities. Open races may be restricted to a particular type of dog; these are the kinds of open races listed on the website of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain: bitches; dogs; puppies; bitch puppies; dog puppies; British bred puppies; British bred bitches; British bred dogs; Irish bred; Seniors; Maidens; Maiden bitches; Maiden dogs; Maiden puppies.

Open races, as the name implies, are open to dogs from any track which races under Greyhound Board of Great Britain rules. This creates the problem of comparing form from different tracks. Trainers will be keen for their dogs to have a trial at the track, and this will give punters a clue as to a dog’s fitness and basic ability. But a trial, whether it’s a solo, 2-dog or 3-dog trial, can’t replicate the conditions of a six dog race, so trial times should always be regarded with a certain amount of circumspection.

As regards betting, the odds available in open races may cover a wide spread, from odds on to as much as 33/1 or longer. This reflects a much greater range of ability in a particular race than you would get in a graded race, where all the dogs are of a similar ability judged on the times they are capable of. So in open races you get more ‘good things’, but you won’t be able to back them at decent prices.

Graded Races

In graded races dogs of similar ability, based on the times they are capable of achieving over a particular distance, race against each other. All the dogs are attached to one track, and most will spend their entire racing careers there. Over time a comprehensive body of form builds up for each dog, allowing the backer to know exactly what its running style is and what conditions it needs in order to produce its best form.

Most tracks have around eight to ten different grades over the standard four bend trip. They are usually denoted by the letter ‘A’. So at Perry Barr, for example, there are nine grades over the 480 metre distance, with A1 being the top grade and A9 the bottom. If the intention is to specialise in graded racing over the standard trip, I would strongly advise concentrating on grades near the top of the scale. My own preference is to bet in grades A3 and A2. I don’t usually bet in A1 because often these races include dogs that also run in minor opens, and the form isn’t so clear cut.

Dogs that run in the top grades are, as a general rule, consistent and reliable, and the form holds up well. The further down the grading scale you go, the trickier it is to assess a race accurately. That’s because you can have a wider range of ability and experience in any particular race. For example, in an A8 or A7 race there might be a young, improving dog that’s just out of the puppy stage. It’s inexperienced but has a considerable amount of ability which, once it learns to race properly, will allow it to make rapid progress through the grades. In the same race there might be a couple of veterans that were once of much better class but have now lost the electric burst of pace they once possessed. The rest of the runners might be of moderate ability, and these types of dogs tend to win in their turn when everything falls into place.

Another possible area of specialisation with graders is handicap racing. In horse racing horses the winning chances of different abilities are brought together by the allocation of varying weights. In greyhound racing chances are, in theory at least, equalised by the positioning of the traps. The slowest dog in the race, in Trap 1, is given an advantage of up to 14 metres over the fastest, or scratch, dog in Trap 6. Not all tracks stage handicap racing, which is most popular at some of the northern tracks. The advantage for betting purposes is that, because of the staggered start, the dogs aren’t reaching the first bend in a bunch. For that reason there isn’t so much trouble there as in a non-handicap race. Some dogs take to handicap racing better than others, so the advice would be to know as much as possible about individual dogs.

Distance of race

The majority of races at any track are over four bends, a distance which suits most greyhounds. Some dogs, quick out of the traps and blessed with superior early speed but short on stamina, excel at sprint distances over two bends. Others dogs take longer to warm up, but are still running on strongly when most have reached the limits of their staying power. These dogs show their best form over six bends or even further. There are nowhere near so many races over sprint or staying trips as over the standard distance, which makes them ideal areas for specialisation. A detailed knowledge of these dogs’ wins to runs percentage, running style and trap preference will be key 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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