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Greyhound Racing: How To Read The Race Card
A night at the races is fun. Get together with friends, have a few drinks and maybe something to eat while watching these cute dogs chase the bunny – or rather what they think is a bunny. An integral part of your evening will include choosing a dog to return to the races. Just a little net for fun and maybe a little return. But there is so much information on the fight card that it can confuse the uninitiated. To help you deal with this, here’s a quick rundown of what’s presented to you on the match card.
The race card contains all sorts of useful information and recent form (each dog’s last six appearances) to help you make your selections. It might seem a little scary at first, but it’s not hard to get used to.
The main (or bold) type is quite simple. Reading from left to right you usually have the trap number the greyhound will start from, the owner, the trainer and a summary of the number of races they ran, won or placed. Below that you have the dog’s form for his last six races. This is what you want to look at to help pick those winners. With that in mind, here is the usual type of information that the standard UK greyhound racing card will show you for each dog in the race. Date of last execution
Distance: The distance the race must run is expressed in meters. For 280,500, 660 as the case may be.
Trap Number: The number of the trap from which the dog should start. The dog will wear a racing jacket of the corresponding number to help you identify it during the race.
Time to First Split Time: This is the time (in seconds) the dog traveled from the starting traps to, usually, the first turn of the race. For example 4:57 means the dog ran the first split in just over four and a half seconds. An indicator of how quickly the animal is away from the traps.
Race Position: Expressed as a series of numbers reflecting the dog’s position in each of its previous six races. For example, 5631 would mean the dog started slowly and then got into his stride to move up to third and eventually win. Conversely, 1246 would indicate that the animal started strongly but did not have the speed to sustain it.
End position: Self-explanatory. The position the greyhound finished in the race. It is expressed as a number between 1 and 6.
Distance won (or won if the race was won): Expressed as a whole number or fraction, if appropriate. For example 4th 3 means the dog came fourth and was beaten by three lengths. Or 1st 2 ¼ means the dog won by two and a quarter lengths.
Winning Dog (or runner-up dog if the dog won): The name of the dog that won your greyhound’s last match, or if your greyhound won, then the name of the winning dog will appear here.
Comments on how the dog ran: The abbreviations used here are intended to give a snapshot of the race. Most match cards give definitions of the abbreviations so you can follow them. For example, crowded2 means the beagle ran into some trouble on turn two and ran out of room, or hit the start means the dog was hit by an opponent that came out of the traps.
Time to Win: Self-explanatory. The time recorded by the winning greyhound.
Transition adjustment in hundredths of a second: Winning times are adjusted according to prevailing track conditions. A plus sign means that the transition is fast, while a minus sign means that the movement was slow – for example, it could be a wet track after rain.
Weight: The weight of the beagle in kilograms. All greyhounds are weighed at the track to ensure there is no difference between declared weight and actual race day weight. It is important to compare these to previous racing weights for consistency.
Starting Price: The price at which the winning greyhound was returned for betting purposes. If it was a test match then it will show the number of dogs in the test. For example, T3 would be a three-dog trial).
Match Grade: Indicates the level of the match. For example A2, A4 etc. The lower the number, the higher the match score.
Estimated Time: The winning time after applying any adjustments. An asterisk indicates the greyhound’s best recent time. Look for the fastest recent recorded time in all greyhounds over the race distance as well. This is known as “the dog of time”.
Now you have a brief explanation of what all those letters and numbers mean and an understanding of how to read a greyhound racing card. With a little practice you will become fluent and be able to “read” a match. Part of the fun is using the information to form your opinion on which greyhound will win by discussing it with your friends and then seeing who is right.
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