Greyhound Racing is the equivalent of Horse Racing, but with dogs, obviously. The aim of this game is to train a dog fast enough to chase a lure (typically an artificial rabbit) around circular track with the dog crossing the finishing line first classed as the winner. The greyhounds can be raced over a variety of distances, tracks and even hurdles, yes mini hurdles. That's probably got your attention.
In most countries, greyhound racing is seen as an amateur sport which is conducted purely for enjoyment. However, some countries take the sport a lot more serious than others and fortunately for the UK, we are one of those which do. The US and Australia are also keen on their dogs and you'll often see some big greyhound events in both those countries. The turnover for bookmakers from greyhound racing is reportedly well into £75-million mark each year. That's a phenomenal figure and one that proves that Greyhound Racing is held in high regard here in the UK.
Aim of the game
From a punter's perspective, the aim is to pick a winner. That sounds easy, but it's a lot harder than you think. Many will see Greyhound racing as one that can be profitable, but you have to keep up to date with your greyhound knowledge. It's crucially important, as it is when it comes to the horses because otherwise you are just betting blind. More importantly, make sure you read up on the dog's form and the race details. Just like horses, dog's prefer certain distances and are only good enough for certain a class of race.
There will be six Greyhounds racing in each race. You will find crucial information both the dogs and the race itself in most Daily Newspaper although The Racing Post is the best.
Betting Markets - Greyhound Racing Bets
Race Winner - Backing a Greyhound to win. The Dog must come first.
Each-Way - Backing a greyhound to come either 1st or 2nd. You will receive 1/4 odds a place. So if back Dog B for £2 and he comes 2nd at odds of 4/1, you will receive $4 back. That includes your stake as 4/1 turns into EVENS as it's 1/4 the odds a place.
Note: The stake needs to be doubled for an E/W bet. So, whereas if you bet on a dog to win, it would cost you £2. If you want to bet on it E/W you will need to put $4 on to cover both the win and place bet.
Straight Forecast - This is picking two dogs to come 1st and 2nd, however, They must come in the correct order.
If you back Dog A to finish 1st & Dog B to finish 2nd then that's the order both dogs must finish in for your bet to be a winner. If Dog B comes 1st and Dog A comes 2nd then you bet will be a loser.
Reverse Forecast - This is similar to a straight forecast although you have more chance of winning with a reverse forecast. You have to pick two dogs to come 1st and 2nd and so long as they finish either 1st or 2nd then you will win. It doesn't matter what order they finish 1st or 2nd, just as long as they both finish in the top two.
Simply write on your betting slip - Dog A & Dog B to finish 1st and 2nd in a reverse forecast. This means that Dog A & Dog B can finish anywhere in the top two and you're a winner.
Dog A Finishes 1st / Dog B Finishes 2nd - WINNING BET!
Dog A Finished 2nd / Dog B Finishes 1st - WINNING BET!
Any other order then your bet will be a loser!
Note: The same rules applies to a reverse forecast as an E/W bet. Your stake will need to be doubled to cover both the win and E/W bet as a reverse forecast is the same as an E/W bet. So a £2 straight forecast would just that, £2. A reverse forecast will now cost £4.
Tricast - This a tricky bet to get in but the reward will be worth it when you do finally succeed. To keep it sweet you're betting on three dogs to finish in the top 3 but they have to be in the right order.
Example: You will need to your selections in the correct order, so from left to right.
Dog A - Dog B - Dog C
Writing this on your slip means Dog A must finish 1st, Dog B must finish 2nd and Dog C must finish 3rd. Anything else then your bet is a loser. There is no exception.
Race details - Ensure you've studied the race details. A few things to look out for are is the grade of the race (Known as Class), this will give you a good indication of the quality of the dogs in the race. You should also bear in mind the race distance. Certain will prefer to race over a specific distance.
If Dog A has run over a distance of 380 Metres three times and won on two of his three starts over that distance then it's clear that 380 Metres is his optimum racing distance.
If Dog A won his last race in a Grade C race then he will now have to race in a higher Grade race. This means he will be up against better Greyhounds. Whenever a dog wins, they have to move up a class before they can race again.
Greyhounds - Before betting on any race you should read up on each dog's pre-race information. This can range from knowing which grade they previously run in, to their main attributes.
Greyhound Grades - AA,A,BB,B,C,D,J (Juvenile) & M (maiden)
The class of a race varies from AA being the very best down D being the worst.
Dog's which run in Maiden races are greyhounds which have struggled to win races and they will be better suited to racing against fellow dogs who lack in quality.
Early Speed / Front Runners - There are two types of early speed dogs. One type will be a dog who tends to jump well out of the box at the start and gain an early advantage while another will tend to get away from the start moderately. A dog which gets ahead early will exert a lot of early energy while one that makes a slow start should still have a lot in the tank come the final stage of the race.
Late Speed / Closers - Dog's that tend to form late surges at the very end of a race tend to get away from the start fairly slow. This allows them to save their energy for the final stretch and you'll often see a dog from the back of the pack sprint past those who have gone hammer and throttle at the front for most of the race. A closer is a dog which often pushes hard in the stretch passing many of the dogs and should never be underestimated.
Class - Determining the class of the dog can sometimes be hard. One good indication of the dogs class is to check his previous grade entries. Take notice of whether the Greyhound is stepping up in grade and if it's available, how he did when he last raced in a higher grade or same grade as the current race.
Heart - This attribute is very important in any dog. The tight tracks make for an argy-bargy type of race. This often leads to a dog being bumped on the turn and in turn, loses some ground. Some dogs will then either fall away or form a recovery. A dog who can overcome a racing mishap is often said to have a good heart. This means he can overcome any trouble in the race and these types are always very popular with punters as you tend to get your money's worth with these types.
Be wary of Trouble - The first turn is where most dogs tend to find trouble in a race. This is where the front runners often clash in a bid to get position on the rail. Because of this, it's often wise to pick a dog who doesn't generally get away too well from the starting boxes. This means the dog will avoid trouble more times than not. Punters hate the trouble factor of a race. Your greyhound can be the fastest in the land but if he finds trouble on the turn then it could affect the end result. Trouble often leads to big price winners as a clash of dogs can happen in any race, to any dog.
All-in-all, Greyhound Racing is a hard sport to make long-term profit on. The unpredictability of the races which not only include the dog's temperament but also mid race clashes. However, there are of course some dogs which defy adversity and can win on a regular basis. If you know your stuff (Dog form etc) then you could make a tidy profit. It's a sport which does need a lot of research and observation to become successful on although we tend to find it's best to keep betting on the Greyhounds to small stakes and enjoy the spectacle.
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