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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

Greyhounds – Is it fast enough

Once we have found a dog that looks like it will have a favourable position, ideally in front, at the first bend and will not get any trouble on the way to the bend then all you need to know now is whether it is fast enough to hold onto its lead.

It is very common to find a dog that will get a clear run around and will lead most of the way in a race only to lose in the closing stages.

These sprint type dogs just don’t have the stamina to hold on to the winning line and are a trap for anybody using the kind of strategy that we have discussed here.

The key clue to whether we are dealing with this kind of dog is its past race positions. If it has led previously all the way but still not won then you need to find a reason why it might hang on today. EG If in a previous race the positions are shown as 2111 but the dog didn’t win the race then this is a danger signal.

Maybe it is an easier race today maybe a lower grade. Maybe it is fitter today, if the last run came after rest or it is a puppy who is improving. If you can’t find a reason then maybe you should give this one a miss.

Because graded races are in theory constructed such that any dog could win, other than the types mentioned above, I tend to not pay too much attention to the previous times recorded by each dog. As long as my selection is not way slower than the opposition then I am likely to go with it.

The exceptions to this are where I can see a reason why one of the opposition might improve. These include…

Puppies. Young dogs that are just starting out on their careers which can improve in leaps and bounds.

Rested dogs. Dogs that have been off for a rest and are not yet running to their pre rest form. EG If they were running A4 grade before their rest but are now reappearing in an A6 then it is likely that at sometime soon they will return to the previous grade IE they are better than their opposition.

Bitches that have been in season. Bitches don’t run when they are in season. When they return they tend to find significant improvement at around 16 weeks after their season commenced. This tendency is significant enough to be a profitable strategy in itself.

One final point to keep in mind is that you don’t have to bet just one selection in a race. If you have narrowed a race down to two or three contenders then consider splitting your stakes between them.

Splitting stakes across multiple selections is a strategy I use a lot in greyhound racing. You can either bet the same stake on each dog or adjust your stake so you make the same profit whichever of your selections wins.

You can use our dutching tool that will help you determine the correct stakes for dutching selections.

And that is the method that I use to find winning greyhound selections. As with any betting method you are looking for a dog with a strong chance of winning and one that has a better chance than the available odds suggest. There is no clear cut selection ever, because if a dog is an obvious winner then the odds will reflect that.

But that said I have frequently found selections that I am sure will win, barring accidents, at 4/1 and 5/1.

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.

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