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.