So as I said last time my preferred strategy is based around determining which dogs are likely to get a clear run to and around the first bend.
There are two main factors that will determine whether a dog will make it around the first bend unimpeded. These are how fast it is into its stride and whether it will get knocked, bumped, baulked or impeded in anyway by one of the other five dogs in the race.
Today we'll deal with early speed.
Just like athletes and horses some greyhounds are more suitable to sprinting and some are long distance runners, relatively speaking.
We will be looking at standard four bend races which will be somewhere between about 380 metres and 525 metres.
The majority of the dogs running at these distances will be suited to the distance, but some will be more sprint like, with fast early speed and some will be slower into their stride but will be capable of holding their top speed for longer.
These tendencies will show up in their previous sectional times.
These times tell us how long it took for the dog in question to reach the finishing line the first time in each of its previous races. In a four bend race this time will represent a straight line dash, as no bends will have been encountered yet.
If we choose a representative time for each runner in the race we can get an idea of how they will be positioned first time over the line and with a little imagination we can project this picture forward to give us an idea of how things will pan out at the first bend.
There are a few different methods you could use to work out a representative sectional time for each dog.
You could use their fastest sectional, you could use an average of all their times. Both of these methods allow a systematic approach which removes the decision making from the process.
But probably the best way is to be objective and use your judgement.If a dog has done 4 fast sectionals and 1 very slow, probably an average will not be a true representation of its ability. The slow could have just been a bad day!
So day to day I would say use a judgment, but if you were going to research hundreds of past races then you would have to use a consistent approach like the average or fastest.
On average about 60% of races are won by the dog that led at the quarter position (between first and second bends) in a four bend race.
This obviously varies by track but a recent analysis of 100 races at Hall Green showed 64 of those that led at the first bend went on to win.
The easiest way to visualise the positions of the dogs on their way up to the first bend is to either draw out their positions on a piece of squared paper, which is what I used to do, or easier still use a piece of software to show the positions.
(If you use squared paper then you need to convert hundredths of a second into a dogs length, the standard measurement is that a dogs length equals 8 hundredths of a second)
The graphic below is part of a screenshot from a piece of software called Bags Beater.
As you can see it looks like trap five has a definite advantage heading in to the first bend and it subsequently went on to win returning 5/1 but available at 7.2 on Betfair.
But times are not the whole story when it comes to who will lead at the first bend and next time we'll look at the rest of the picture.