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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 Baulking

So last time we looked at which dog had the fastest sectional times and was likely to lead.

But times don't tell the full story. There are other factors that effect the run up to the first bend and they can all be grouped together into one question.

That is will the dogs, or at least the one we are interested in, get a clear run to the bend and that's what we'll look at today.

Greyhounds run in a number of distinct styles and track positions.

There are those that want to run close to the rail and those (usually bigger dogs) that prefer to run out wide where the bends are easier to negotiate. Generally speaking when a dog leaves the trap he will aim to get in the position that he prefers.

This will be clearer if I use an extreme example.

If we have a dog that is too big to negotiate the bends near to the rail and needs to run wide around the bends then somewhere between the traps and the first bend he will want to get into the position that is most comfortable.

If that particular dog was starting in trap one then somewhere along the way he will cut in front of, or behind the dogs in traps two to six.

He will most likely bump into or impede some of these other dogs on his way to the bend.

This means that the sectional time that we expect from any other dog that is impeded will not be what we expect it to be. So for example in our screen shot from the last message our trap five may not have had an advantage if he was impeded by others along the way.

To assess the likelihood of any dog getting to the line as quickly as we expect we need to look at its previous races and those of the dogs around it to predict any problems.

Predicting likely trouble from the traps is more of an art than a science but there are clues a plenty in the race card.

First off you want to look for comments in the previous races of the runners. If a runner is slow or very slow away consistently then this is an advantage for the adjacent runners as they will have clear space around them.

Also look for comments regarding a dogs position at the start. You might find an indication that a dog heads for the rails at the start or heads wide at the start EG RlsStt would indicate that the dog in question headed for the inside rail at the start.

When you see comments like this you have to put them into the context of todays race. For example if a dog earns the comment RlsStt but is in trap one today then the comment is not relevant. However if he is in trap two then it may have negative consequences for trap one but be a positive sign for trap three.

Also look at what trap each dog has been running from if a dog is used to trap one but is today in trap three then it may be that he will head to his regular position near the rails.

Use all of the relevant comments and information to build a picture in your mind of how the run to the bend will pan out.

Backing Favourites for a Living – Malcolm Pett

Backing Favourites for a Living

This page started life with an article from Malcolm Pett that asked the simple question “can you make money backing favourites”.

Malcolms original article is included below but before we get to that, a few thoughts from 2019.

Backing Favourites

The first thing to say is that you can’t bet all favourites and expect to make a profit.

That’s just not how the betting market works, there is always a profit margin built into a bookies prices, but because it isn’t an exact science not all prices reflect the true chance of the horse.

And so it is possible to cherry pick the best value favourites and to make a profit from those.

Some Facts

The headline fact is that favourites have won 34.99% of all races over the last 10 years up to November 2019.

If you had bet them all for £1 you would have been on 114584 bets, won 40,088 times and lost £7,904 at industry SP.

Your ROI would have been – 6.9%.

The split is pretty even across Flat, All Weather and National Hunt.

That is a pretty small loss percentage wise and that is what we have to overcome to make a profit.

One way to do that is to drill down into a sub set of races, a very small subset like this system 

Another is to search for false favourites. favourites that are at the head of the market on hype rather than proven form, favourites that are on unproven ground or have some other negative factor that is against them.

BOG

As with any backing if you can bet at best odds guaranteed then you can squeeze another few percentage points from your bets.

Although we all ultimately have BOG taken from us as we become more successful, if you still have it take advantage.

It is fair to say that the bookies are a lot more tolerant of punters who bet and win on shorter priced selections and your account and privileges.

Betfair SP

You can get even closer to making a profit with Betfair SP. in fact the loss we reported above for all favourites for the past 5 years reduces to 3575 when betting at Betfair SP and ROI of – 3.12%.

Psychologically betting favourites is a good idea, many a bettor has abandoned a winning strategy because they couldn’t tolerate a losing run.

Alternative Strategies

What we really want to do when we bet favourites is to bet at a high strike rate with shorter losing runs.

Other options are to bet favourites in the place only markets at Betfair, which will get you a much higher strike rate.

Or dutching together selections to have multiple runners in a race and of course a much higher strike rate. You can use our dutching tool to work out you stakes.

Here is Malcolm's original article from 2014…

Today we have our regular Wednesday article from Malcolm Pett and this week's subject is backing favourites for a living

Can you make money backing favourites?

Most people tell you that there is no value in backing favourites and you should stay clear of them and look for those “outsiders” that come in now and then, at a really good value.

It sounds plausible except almost 80% of all winners come from the top 3 or 4 in the betting and so although it’s not rare to see an outsider come in at great value…

…It’s not easy finding and identifying them.

Backing Favourites for a Living

If you have read any of my articles then you are probably aware that I tend to go on about strike rate and average winning odds a lot.

There is good reason for this…

…They are important…very important.

At the end of the day all that matters is that these two figures stack up and make you a profit.

If you go for the lower strike rate range then you will need higher odds to make money.

Where a higher strike rate means you need lower odds to make money.

So it doesn’t matter if you are on favourites or outsiders the figures still have to add up.

People love going on about finding value and if you like being a detective then it is really good fun.

But value bets winning are rare and so even if you get good at spotting them your strike rate is still going to be low, meaning you will get a lot of losers before finding a winner.

Looking for value bets also needs a big bank roll and you need to know when to take advantage of the odds available.

I follow a number of systems like this and you soon find out that you have to go through losing runs of 20, 30 or even 50, to make these systems work.

Not many people are prepared to do this and not many people have the bank to support it.

I am not saying you shouldn’t have high price value strategies…

…I am just saying it probably doesn’t want to be your only strategy.

But we have already talked about there being no profit in favourites so what else can we do?

Well let’s discuss that for a moment.

Let us say that we came up with a system that uses favourites and has an average strike rate of 50%.

That means “on average” we win one bet and we lose one bet.

So every time we lose…we lose 1 point which means every time we win we need to do better than 1 pt to make money.

In fact if we take Betfair prices where we can generally do a little better then we need an average winning price of 1.05, just to break even.

So let’s say for arguments sake we get on average a winning price 1.26 (2.26).

1.26 * 5% = 0.06 = 1.20 profit

So if we had 100 selections in a month and won on 50 of them it would look like this…

50 * 1.20 = 60 – 50 = 10 points.

So as you can see we don’t have to have a very high “average winning odds” to make a decent amount of points every month.

The thing is to test…it’s no good saying you cannot make money on favourites unless you try some strategies over 2 or 3 months.

If you pick well then even if you don’t get the prices you need. You are unlikely to lose as much as you would following a low strike rate high value system with long losing runs.

Malcolm

Create your own speed ratings

Over the last few years I have created a number of different ratings for our own use and clients but these have all be form related.

So I guess it was only a matter of time before the question of speed ratings came up.

Some people argue that speed is the only real way to judge a horses chance of winning a race…

But as with all things racing, it is never quite that simple.

Speed of course is related to distance.

It is the time it took the horse to run the race divided by the distance that gives us the speed at which the horse travelled.

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