How to Read a UK Greyhound Race Card and Pick Out Winners!
In the following article I will explain how to read a greyhound racing race card, followed by some advice to how you can take advantage of some of the information, and then a rundown on how to make a final decision.
Here is a pretty standard greyhound race card for a runner at Belle Vue.
So here we have Ebony Peaches, a regular at Belle Vue, drawn in trap 1. It has a best time of 28.55 seconds at this distance (the race is over 470m) recorded on the 26th October 2013 and it’s trainer is J McCombe. It was born in Jun 10, and it’s sire was Hades Rocket and it’s dam Karma Peaches. All that information is at the top.
Underneath is where the meat of the form lies.
Date – the date of the previous run.
Track – The track where the run took place (many dogs will just race at one track, but better quality greyhounds may run at many tracks).
DIS – The distance the race was run over.
TRP – The trap the greyhound was in the previous race.
SPLIT – The time to the finish line first time around.
POS – This is the position by bend in that race. For example, in its last race (top) it was third at the first bend and then led all the way.
FIN – Finishing position
BY – How much it either won by (in terms of lengths) or finished behind the winner.
WIN/SEC – Which greyhound won the race or finished second to Ebony Peaches.
REMARKS – A quick commentary of the last race (abbreviations will be on the race card for clarity). For example – “EP, Mid” means early pace, and ran in the middle of the track.
TIME – The time the race was actually won in.
GOING – How fast or slow the track is running. N means normal, a +number means a faster track, a – number denoting slower.
PRICE – the bookmakers starting price.
GRD – The grade of race that was run. The lower the number following the letter, the better the class. A normally applies to a standard race, and S to a longer race, with OR meaning Open Race (higher quality racing).
CALC – Probably the most important rating, the calculated time (taking into account going) of the greyhound in that race.
Using the Racecard
So, there is the racecard explained, but how do we take advantage of these stats?
Let’s start with the split time –using this time it can be very useful to try and visualize what might happen as the dogs cross the finish line and approach the bend. I’ll give three examples.
The dog in trap one is the fastest to the first bend, and the rest have similar times. What might happen? Well there is a good chance that the dog in trap one may shoot clear, and the dogs behind all hitting the bend at the same time may hamper each other. In the early part of the race, trap one has an edge.
The dog in trap six is much slower to the first bend than the rest of the field who have similar times and trap six also likes to run wide. If there is trouble up ahead, trap six will likely avoid it by being wide, and being a dog that runs on (which many slow starters are) its run might be easier than the rest of the field.
The dog in trap two has a minimally slower time to the first bend than traps one and three. This is an ideal position for a sandwich and this dog should be avoided! In fact you should be wary of all three dogs here, but specifically trap two.
Looking at the comments you might see that some dogs are more likely to hit trouble than others (crd – crowded, bmp – bumped etc), and these are dogs you want to avoid generally, but specifically in the above situations.
Something else you want to look at is how long ago did it last run? Is the dog fully fit? A greyhound that hasn’t run for a month will probably not perform as well as a greyhound that run six days ago – so keep this in mind.
The Grade is an important factor. How is he dog performing at a certain grade? Has it been dropped down a grade (and maybe have more of a chance at the lower grade?) – or conversely moved up? Has it won at this grade? Keep an eye on this column and possibly be less inclined to back a greyhound moving up in grade.
The going can also influence your selection. The greyhound in the above example won when the going was normal, but didn’t when the going was slower – this can be useful. On a rain sodden track, avoid greyhounds that don’t win when it is slow.
Check for rivalries! See if dogs have raced each other before, and see what happened. Stuck between two but one has beaten the other the last two times they’ve met? There’s your answer..!
The final and perhaps the most important aspect of a racecard is the calculated time. This is the best and quickest way to compare the greyhounds. A length in greyhounds equates to around 0.06 seconds, so if a greyhound regularly beats another by 0.3 seconds, that is a massive 5 lengths. Don’t take an average of all of the dog’s races to get a feel for how quick it is, just use the “trouble free” races (use the comments as a guide) and that is a truer guide to the speed of the greyhound.
So you have all this information now, but what process could you use to select a winning dog?
Firstly look at the split time, and potentially rule out (or put a black mark against certain greyhounds). Then go directly to the Calculated time – using these two in conjunction with each other is the main recipe for success. Using just these two categories at first will give you a great feel for the race.
Once you have done this, you may have a clear idea of who you want to back, who you don’t think will win. With this information, then look at the grade, the going, when it last run and the rivalries with other dogs – there may be something in there to change your mind, or affirm your selection.
Finally you are there – it might be slightly long winded, but with practice will only take a short amount of time, and there is no better feeling than backing a winner when you’ve read a race perfectly.