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Understanding Greyhound Racing Form

Understanding Greyhound Racing Form

I've been promising for a while now that I will teach some winning greyhound strategies so today I'm going to explain how the form is recorded for the dogs. I'll then go on to share a strategy that I have used for years whenever I bet the dogs.

This is going to run over a number of days and I might spread it out a bit so as to not bore those readers not interested in the dogs, but we'll see how it goes.

So below you will see a screenshot of some greyhound racing form and below that a list of what the various items mean.

Greyhound racing form

Greyhound racing form – Click to Enlarge

[1] Starting with the easy, this is the trap that the dog will run from

[2] The dogs name & (W) indicates that this dog is a wide runner and consequently it will be allocated one of the outside traps each time it runs. You may also see (M) which indicates a middle runner and this dog will be allocated a middle trap.

[3] The best recent (Calculated) time that the greyhound has achieved along with details of the grade and the date. In this case the best time came in a trial, a trial is a qualifying race which helps the racing manager to know how to grade the dog IE what is it's ability what race should he put it in. Trials will usually have less than 6 runners, 3 in this case, and there is no betting on trials.

[4] The name of the trainer.

[5] This is the Racing Post rating for the dog. It is time based and personally I don’t pay much attention to it.

[6] A description of the animal in this case a F b which is a fawn bitch (female) a male will be indicated with a d for dog. This is followed by the name of the dogs sire (father), dam (mother) and the date whelped (Date of Birth).

[7] Date last in season. Bitches only!

[8] This is the Racing Post's tipsters comment, often vague and and can sway your judgement.

Now we get to the past form for the dog in question. Each line represents one race with the top line being the most recent.

[9] The date of the race.

[10] The track where the race was run.

[11] The distance of the race in metres.

[12] The trap number that the dog ran from on that occasion.

[13] The sectional or split time. This is the time from the traps to the winning line the first time the dog passes the line. This is useful to hep you understand the pace of the dog and whether it is likely to lead early.

[14] Position in race at the start (IE out of the traps), quarter (In a 4 bend race this will be between the 1st & 2nd bends), half and three quarter stages.

[15] Finishing position.

[16] The distance beaten by or if the winner the distance won by.

[17] The name of the winner or the second if this dog was the winner.

[18] The Racing Manager's in running comments for that run

[19] The time that the winner took to complete the race.

[20] The allowance made for the going. N = normal otherwise plus or minus in hundredths of a second EG – 40 means that the time was adjusted down by 40 hundredths of a second.

[21] The starting price of the dog.

[22] The grade of the race.

[23] The calculated time for this dog. This will be calculated from the distance the dog finished behind the winner and adjusted for the going allowance.

Now that we understand the information (form) that we have available next time we can look at how we can use that information.

Now we know how to read the card check out these posts that deal with finding a winner.

Who is the fastest to the first bend

Greyhound racing videos 

Baulking

Is it fast enough

Image courtesy of Saris0000 under Creative Commons 2.0

Greyhound Racing Videos

Before I get into the specifics of finding winning dogs by reading the form I want to just give a bit more background info and talk about a method I used to use when I was full time betting the greyhounds…

Finding the winning greyhound in a graded race is about a lot more than the times it has achieved in the past.

Graded racing is the greyhound equivalent of a handicap race except that greyhounds are not allocated any sort of handicap to slow them down.

Instead they selected to be as closely matched as possible.

The Racing Managers job is to put together races that are as closely matched as possible and to, if you like, create a puzzle for the punters.

On course bookmaking at greyhound tracks is notoriously hard, mainly because when money talks in a small market there are not the opportunities to balance out a book. This is the reason that on course overrounds are huge at greyhound tracks and the reason that the Racing Manager does his best to make the races as decipherable as possible.

Don’t let any of this put you off, though, because winners can be found if you are selective and if the meeting is covered by Betfair then fair prices can be obtained also.

As with any activity knowledge equals power or in this case the more you know the more profitable you can be. The ultimate level of knowledge is to have watched every race ever run by every dog in the race to hand and to know how each has been performing at home. (Many trainers these days have some sort of track at their own kennels).

It is unlikely that you can get inside info on every dog in a race but you can often get to see every race a dog has run. For some years now tracks have supplied videos of all races run to those prepared to pay for the privilege. And the backer who focuses on one particular track can, given time, watch every run of a particular animal. However this is an expensive, although ultimately profitable, approach.

I will briefly touch on the things to watch out for when race watching here and next time we'll get on to a more form based approach.

Racing Videos

When watching greyhound racing in the main what you are looking for is

• Dogs that have had a hard race (bumped and blocked) but still performed well indicating they are faster than the time recorded. They are likely faster than the bare form suggests. If you are in the bookies watching the BAGS racing and you see a dog that had a hard race make a note of it and check the results to see what tine it did and estimate what time you think it should have done,. It may be a good bet next time out.

• How a dog breaks from the traps EG do they run straight to the rail, which would cause trouble for the dog inside them but hand an advantage to the dog on their outside. This info can be useful in assessing the chances of the dog in question and other dogs.

• Are they on the bunny! IE doing everything in their power to get in front and win or did they give up easy & just follow the pack home. Chasers, who are not really up for it will win less than their share of races because they don't like to be in front.

Sire Systems

Back in February this year I loaded some system rules into Horse Race Base around the sire Dom Alco (FR)*.

Basically the system rules were just to bet the 5 to 8 year old progeny of this sire when running over distances of 2 mile 6 furlongs to 3 mile 1 furlong.

A simple little system to capture the runners of a sire who is starting to have more runners and whose runners seem to be outperforming the market over recent years.

Here are the returns since I created the system…

Runs = 21
Wins = 5
Strike Rate = 23.8%
Profit 1 point level stakes at iSP = 18.25
ROI at iSP = 86.9%

There could probably be more rules added to this to increase the strike rate, but there isn't a huge amount of data to work with.

Anyway the reason I mention this today is because the system has a qualifier and I'm going to have a little each way bet on it…

Today's Selection

3.40 Exeter Sixty Something – eachway bet – 15/2 Bet 365

* Of course with the death of Dom Alco in 2010 this is only a short term angle 🙁

Up In Class by Trainer Nicky Henderson

So today I am getting started on the job of researching individual trainers at individual courses when their novice hurdlers step up in class.

I'm going to start off with Nicky Henderson, simply because he has the most runners of the trainers that we have selected for this system.

It may be a case the Nicky's charges are over-bet because of his status, but we'll look at the data and see what we can find.

Because we are drilling down deeper and deeper the number of runners meeting a set of criteria will be less and less and it may be tricky to determine if a strike rate and profit is significant or not.

When looking at which courses are most profitable for Nicky Henderson, novice hurdlers that are upped in class, I have only looked at courses where there have been at least 10 qualifiers in the last 10 years.

Here's the table…

Nicky Henderson Novice Hurdlers Table

 

What jumps out is the huge profit (ROI) and strike rates at Huntingdon, Kempton and Ludlow.

Nicky Henderson is based in Upper Lambourn which is on the M4 and relatively convenient for the top class venues of Newbury, Cheltenham, Ascot, Kempton and Sandown.

Of the courses listed above Huntingdon is the furthest at around 100 miles from base.

I'm not sure if we should read something into the class of the tracks, I suppose I'm surprised that Towcester isnt in the profit list, but the stats don't lie. This is definitely how it panned out in the past, let's hope it can steer us towards some winners in the future.

Today's Selection

5.10 Pontefract Dark Ruler – win bet – 5/1 Bet Victor

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