Focus on Belle Vue

Belle Vue greyhound track, located in Gorton, Manchester, has a circumference of 395 metres. Over the standard distance of 470 metres, the run to the first bend is 103 metres, which gives the greyhounds time to sort themselves out and helps to minimise first bend trouble.

There are ten ‘A’ grades over 470 metres (A10 – A1); three ‘S’ grades over 590 metres (S3 – S1); two ‘H’ grades, hurdle races over 470 metres (H2 and H1); and open races, mainly over the standard distance. Races over the sprint distance of 260 metres are few and far between.

Recently I’ve been calculating the average winning times for every grade at every track, and today’s offering concentrates on the general conclusions that can be drawn from the data gathered and, specifically, what they mean for greyhounds racing at Belle Vue.

The difference in average winning time between two contiguous grades at any track (for example, between A6 and A5, or between A3 and A2) can vary significantly. It can be as little as 0.04 seconds which, using the accepted conversion of 0.08 seconds equalling one length, is equivalent to ½ length; or it can be as much as 0.36 seconds, or 4½ lengths. Clearly these differences will affect the chances of a dog being able to cope with an upgrade after a win, or of a downgraded dog, on a long losing run, regaining the winning thread.

So far as the average winning times at Belle Vue are concerned, time differences between contiguous grades over the standard distance fall into a reasonable, rather than an extreme, range, as follows:

A10/A9: insufficient data, since A10 is infrequently used.

A9/A8: 0.18 secs. (= 2¼ lengths)

A8/A7: 0.18 secs. (= 2¼ lengths)

A7/A6: 0.11 secs. (= 1¼ lengths)

A6/A5: 0.11 secs. (= 1¼ lengths)

A5/A4: 0.07 secs. (= 1 length)

A4/A3: 0.14 secs. (= 1¾ lengths)

A3/A2: 0.13 secs. (=1¾ lengths)

A2/A1: 0.15 secs. (= 2 lengths)

So a winner in A5 that is upgraded needs, on average, to find an improvement of just under one length to be competitive in A4. But an upgraded A9 or A8 winner must show an average improvement on the clock equivalent to 2¼ lengths in order to be successful in the higher grade.

This begs the question: given that the average improvement needed to succeed in the higher grade is known, do all upgraded greyhounds have the same chance of success? Definitely not, in my opinion, and here’s why: it’s essential to distinguish between the older type of greyhound, whose form and class limitations are clearly established, and the younger, improving dog that hasn’t yet reached its peak. In my book, Greyhound Racing: Make It Pay, I argue that, as a general rule, a greyhound’s recorded finishing times are fully valid only for the grade in which they were recorded. On the face of it this may seem illogical: why might a dog that can run 470m in, say, 28.40 seconds in A4 not be capable of reproducing that time in A3?

The simple answer to that is class. Whereas in A4 the dog may have been able to use his early speed to get clear of his field and run his rivals into the ground, in A3 he finds that he doesn’t get things his own way. His early speed is matched or bettered by the dogs drawn on either side of him, and he is unable to dominate in the same way as he had in A4. He is crowded at the first bend and loses momentum. He may hold his place behind the leaders until the home straight, but then the superior class of the A3 dogs begins to tell. They finish strongly, while the A4 dog fades, finishing in a time inferior to that which he recorded in A4 last time.

This general principle - that time, in greyhound racing, has no absolute value, but is relative to the grade in which it was recorded - holds good for the majority of graders. However, there’s an important exception to the rule: the young (up to around two years old) and rapidly improving greyhound. Learning all the time and progressing with every race, the young dog that has won a race in a fast time for the grade can go on and reproduce that time, or better it, when upgraded.

At Belle Vue, because the time differences between grades aren’t extreme, a young improving dog, with a fast grade time to its name, should be able to make the transition to a higher grade without too much trouble. Below is a short list of young Belle Vue greyhounds that have recently won a race in a fast time for the grade, giving notice that they will be able to cope with a rise to the next level:

Coralboy Frankie (bk d Scolari Me Daddy-Janey Phoenix Feb 16)

Aero Dele (wbk d Royal Impact-Aero Adele Oct 15)

Ballymac Harmony (bd b Ballymac Best-Galtee Honey Jan 16)

Glenamaddy Born (wbk d Makeshift-Tyrur Fergie Jan 16)

Sand Monkey (bk b Zero Ten-Monaga Monkey Oct 15)

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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