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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.

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.

Nick Hardman Free Racing Tips

It's Friday and here's Nick Hardman from the Betting School Insiders Club.
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We had another terrific Friday last week courtesy of Nicky Henderson’s hurdlers and he rattled up a hat-trick across the cards with winners at 6/1, 4/1 and 9/4. With Chepstow abandoned and nothing making any appeal at Musselburgh, we turn out attention back to the AW and some qualifiers from the systems we are road testing over at the Betting School Insiders Club which are ticking over nicely.

There are no qualifiers from Lingfield but we have a few from the evening card at Wolverhampton below:

5.15pm Solar Deity & Linton
5.45pm Harwoods Star
6.15pm Little Lord Nelson
6.45 Go Packing Go & Sciustree

Solar Deity looks to have a good chance to get off the mark in 2015 after a string of placed efforts. He is rated 6lbs higher than his nearest rival on official ratings but is well-in under these weights. He rates a solid bet and I expect him to shorten so take the best morning price with a Best Odds Guaranteed bookmaker.

Stablemate Linton needs to recapture the form that saw him win plenty of races in Australia and compete in a pair of Listed races on the flat last year. I would be as surprised as anyone if Linton were to take this from his stablemate but he is one that may tempt the each-way backers at a price.

Harwoods Star got turned over at 4/9 on his last start but has a chance of making amends here back up in trip and with7lb claimer Aaron Jones back on board. The yard are in excellent form too so he is worth another chance.

The same trainer and jockey team up on Little Lord Nelson in the next and he also has decent chance on handicap debut. The final race will most likely see Charlie Appleby’s New Approach colt Symbolic Star go off a warm order. If he takes a chunk out of the market that could see our two qualifiers go off at an each-way price.

Sciustree is related to plenty of winners and was 6th of 12 on debut and should improve for that experience. Go Packing Go is also well related and makes her debut here.

Saturday’s feature race is the Clarence House Chase which sees the return of the mighty Sprinter Sacre. I for one will be hoping he doesn’t just win this, but wins in the manner of a horse that totally dismisses his rivals. Racing needs superstars and we want this one back. With that in mind it is a watching race and not a betting race for me.

For a selection on Saturday I have run the rule over the Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock from a trends perspective.

We have a shortlist of 4 qualifiers in Vintage Star, Benbens, Amigo and Toby Lerone. Benbens had Amigo some 20 lengths behind in the Welsh National and I cannot see any reason why Amigo should turn the tables here.

Toby Lerone put in a career best last time when finishing second to Broadway Buffalo in the Tommy Whittle Chase at this venue. He is up 6lbs for that and could still be improving. That was on heavy ground too, which he will likely get again on Saturday.

Vintage Star is 4lbs lower than when runner-up in this race last year. He is also back down to his last winning mark that saw him win a Graduation Chase at Carlisle on heavy ground over 3m 1f.

He has not performed that well in 3 starts this season but he has yet to see really testing ground which he may well get on Saturday. Trainer Suzy Smith has an excellent record in the race having trained 2 winners, a runner-up and two third placed finishers since 2000.

It’s a leap of faith but I am willing to make him one of my selections from the shortlist in the hope this is a true test of stamina.

I am torn between Benbens and Toby Lerone for my second selection but I will side with Benbens as the father & son Twiston-Davies combination has been in fine form recently. In addition he was travelling as well as anything in the Welsh National until running out of gas about three flights from home. Back down in trip I think he can go well.

Saturday Haydock 3.15pm
Vintage Star e/w
Benbens e/w

The one runner who does interest me on Saturday’s cards is super-tough mare Carole’s Spirit in the Mare’s Hurdle race at Ascot.

A winner of 4 of her 5 starts her only defeat came at the hands of Highland Retreat who has gone on to be an exciting novice chaser for Harry Fry.

Against her own sex and proven over track, trip and ground I expect her to go very close.

Saturday Ascot 1.50pm
Carole’s Spirit

Good Luck
Nick Hardman
Betting School Insiders Club

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