To assist with this, we’ve put together 5 top tips for betting on dogs and how using these can help to find the winners amongst these canine stars.
1 – Specialise
There are currently 19 tracks that offer greyhound racing in the UK with Oxford and Suffolk Downs set to reopen soon. With up to 6 meetings a week at each track, even the most dedicated follower of the sport can’t keep on top of everything.
The best way is to narrow your field of vision. Most regular greyhound punters will specialise either in open class racing (the highest level of the sport) or at one particular track.
Open class dogs (being better quality) tend to run to form a little more than those on the everyday graded scene. Many horse racing punters will do the same, ignore the Class 6 handicaps on a Monday and Tuesday and concentrate on Listed level or above.
A focus on a single track, perhaps the one most local to you or frequently visited can be rewarding. That laser focus easily picks up trainers in and out of form as well as any track bias.
Every track will have spells where they heavily favour inside or outside runners or times when nothing can win from behind. Those who know a single track well can pick up on these nuances far quicker than an ordinary punter.
2 – Early pace wins the race
Some tracks have more of a pace bias than others but as a punter, I’m always more drawn to a front runner on the dogs, pretty much over any distance. It’s far easier to win a race when out on the bunny at the front end than it is to pick a way through rivals from the back.
Early pace and trapping ability are not necessarily the same thing. The two ways to find this on a card are with the split time and the first bend position. Combined they can be used to play the race in your head and find the most likely leader.
Take Central Park as an example. The split is the time a dog takes to get from the traps to the winning line first time around. Somewhere in the 3.20’s is a decent split there but the first bend position is crucial at Central Park as the winning line is halfway up the straight so doesn’t tell the whole story.
As such, a dog may have a 3.25 sectional but the first bend position on the card reads 3. This is a dog who traps well but doesn’t have the same natural pace in a straight line. Another may do a 3.42 but have a 1 on the card at the opening turn, a dog that can’t trap but once they are moving, have exceptional early pace.
A quicker sectional doesn’t always mean the most early pace. They can out trap the other dogs but don’t possess the same straight line speed so fail to turn in front despite flying split times.
A track like Nottingham has the winning line almost on the first bend so sectionals alone are easier to read there. Know the track, know where the winning line is and combine the two if necessary to put yourself in pole position.
3 – The draw is huge
As with horse racing on the flat, the draw can win and lose a race. Greyhounds are grouped as rail runners, middle runners and wide runners. In an ideal world, there would be two of each in every race but this is not always possible, especially on the open race scene.
Both middle (m) and wide (w) runners are easily identified on a racecard with these symbols. A dog in trap 6 may well be the quickest performer in a given race but if they are a rails runner and perform best from trap 1, then this is a clear disadvantage.
A single ‘seeded’ runner is often a good starting point. 5 railers and 1 wide, the eye is automatically drawn to the 6 given what looks a perfect draw. If the 5 inside that greyhound are all railers and move left to the rails when the traps open, there is likely to be scrimaging which the sole seeded runner can avoid.
In the same way that a badly drawn favourite is one to take on, a well drawn outsider has to be of interest. They aren’t the quickest dog in the race by any means but they are going to get the cleanest path round and that can be all important, especially at a smaller circuit like Crayford or Romford.
4 – Trust your own eyes
Sit and watch the feed from your bookmaker or RPGTV and take notes of what you see. Often, with time constraints and the pressure of keeping a track running, the comments that are seen on the card from the racing office are different from what you as a viewer noted down.
This links in with the above point as well. If on their previous run from trap 1 a certain dog moved straight right and bumped the 2 and next time out it’s in the same trap with the hot favourite next door, that’s a perfect angle to find some value wider out. Racecard comments are only opinions of those in the racing office, don’t take them as gospel.
5 – 16 weeks
This is a hugely important date for bitches coming out of season. There is a mandatory stand down of 3 weeks following a bitch being reported in season but they won’t reach the peak of their form again until around 16 weeks after that date.
A season date can be found on the racecard, in brackets (Ssn 21 Aug ’21) for example. That bitch would be expected to be at the peak of her powers around the 11th of December. This angle is one that can find some nice price winners and impress friends you’ve taken to the track.
Some come back to hand quicker, some slower but it’s an interesting angle in, especially in graded races if a bitch has dropped a couple of levels post season. They may drop a hint around 12/13 weeks that better is coming and into the notebook they go.
They are just a few simple things to look out for which can make a better and more consistent greyhound punter. It’s an incredible sport so go out, enjoy the racing and always gamble responsibly.