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    Different Greyhound Pace Styles
Different Greyhound Pace Styles
Greyhound pacing. Source: SEN

Different Greyhound Pace Styles

Greyhounds exhibit a variety of running styles that are clearly evident during the course of a race. Each individual dog has its own unique approach to sprinting, showcasing the diversity of movement and pacing within the breed. The distinct styles of Greyhounds are a key part of what makes the sport of racing these agile canines so captivating to watch.

Greyhound pacing. Source: Towcester Racecourse
Greyhound pacing. Source: Towcester Racecourse

Greyhound Racing Pace Styles

Greyhound racing performance is characterised by distinct pace styles that reflect the dogs' running abilities and stamina. There are four primary pace categories:

Early Pace: These dogs are "fast breakers" who reach peak speeds quickly at the start of the race. They excel when they can dictate the pace from the beginning, but this burst of early speed often leads to them tiring and fading towards the end.

Middle Pace: Greyhounds in this group showcase their agility in the middle stages of the race. They may accelerate well, but often find themselves surrounded by other dogs, making them susceptible to interference and the need to check their run at the bends.

Finishing Pace: Also known as "stayers," these greyhounds make their move towards the latter stages of the race. They can benefit when the leading dogs encounter trouble, but have to navigate past multiple competitors, risking impedance or needing to run wide.

All-Round Pace: These greyhounds maintain a consistent, steady gallop throughout the race, demonstrating endurance. Their performance may be perceived as one-paced, with less variation in speed.

Understanding these distinct pace styles is crucial for appreciating the complexities of greyhound racing and making informed predictions about race outcomes.

How to Identify the Style

Determining a greyhound's running style requires closely analysing the details of their past racing performances. Although there are no direct numerical measurements in racing data that indicate a greyhound's pace type, there are three main approaches that can provide insights into their preferred running style.

Analysing Greyhound Sectional Times

Examining the individual split times of greyhounds during a race can provide valuable insights into their pacing styles. By observing these sectional times, it is possible to determine whether a greyhound tends to be fast, average, or slow out of the starting boxes. These timings should be evaluated based on results from the same day and similar track distances to make meaningful comparisons.

In Australia, premier greyhound racing venues, known as "city tracks," typically record three key split times during a race:

1. Initial Run to the Bend: This measures the greyhound's speed from the start to the first turn.

2. Approximate Midpoint: This captures the greyhound's pace at the halfway point of the race.

3. Сoming Home or Home Run: C This tracks the greyhound's speed from the top of the back straight to the finish line, with measurements recorded down to the thousandth of a second.

Analysing these sectional times can help trainers, owners, and racing enthusiasts better understand the running styles and strengths of individual greyhounds, which can inform betting strategies and training approaches.

Insights from Race Remarks

The comments included in greyhound race reports can provide valuable clues about a dog's pacing tendencies. These remarks can be categorised into different indicators:

Early Pace Indicators: Terms like "clear 1st," "very quick away," "fast away," "always led," and "box to wire" suggest the greyhound has high early speed and often leads from the start.

Middle Pace Indicators: Remarks such as "led 1," "led 2 to run-in," "led 3," and "slow away-early pace" imply the greyhound maintains the lead through the middle portion of the race.

Finishing Pace Indicators: Comments like "slow away," "very slow away," "lacked early pace," "led on line," "ran on," "finished well," and "winning drive" indicate the greyhound builds momentum towards the end of the race.

All-Round Pace Indicators: Some greyhounds display a combination of pacing styles, with remarks suggesting they can win both by leading from the start or by making a strong finishing run. These dogs often perform best when they can maintain a competitive position throughout the race.

In the context of Irish greyhound racing, the term "evenly away" denotes a greyhound that maintains a balanced pace from start to finish.

Interpreting these various pace-related remarks can provide insights into the running styles and strengths of individual greyhounds, which can inform betting strategies and training approaches.

Greyhound pacing. Source: Omlet
Greyhound pacing. Source: Omlet

Evaluating Greyhound Race Positions

In the UK and Ireland, a dog's positions at key points during previous races - the first, second, third, and fourth bends, as well as the finish line - can provide valuable insights into their running style and pace. These position details are often listed alongside the sectional times.

For instance:

- Early Pace dogs tend to lead early on, with positions like 1 1 1 1 2

- Middle Pace dogs may sit in 3rd or 2nd early, then move up to 1st, like 3 2 1 1 2 

- Finishing Pace dogs often make a late charge, with positions such as 6 6 4 3 2

- All Round Pace dogs maintain a consistent position, typically 2 2 2 2 2

In the United States, "Official Chart Writers" record greyhounds' positions at several critical stages:

- Off Call/Break Call: The dogs' 1-8 positions as they exit the starting boxes

- 1/8 Call: Their positions exiting the first turn 

- Stretch Call: Runners' positions just before the final turn

- Finish Call: The final 1-8 placements at the finish line

Additionally, observing the dogs' behaviour in the pre-race parade can provide insights. Alert, eager dogs ready to spring forward with tucked tails often perform better than sluggish, relaxed dogs with wagging tails.

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