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    The Mechanism of the Trap Draw in Greyhound Racing
The Mechanism of the Trap Draw in Greyhound Racing
Greyhound Racing. Source: Mansion Bet

The Mechanism of the Trap Draw in Greyhound Racing

The starting position of a greyhound in a race is greatly influenced by the trap draw process. The number of dogs that compete in a greyhound race can vary based on the location where the race is held.

Number of Runners

England and Ireland:

Races are limited to 6 dogs maximum.

Historically, 5-dog and 8-dog races were also conducted in the past.

America, Australia, and New Zealand:

The maximum number of runners is 8 dogs. There were instances where 9-dog and 10-dog races took place in the past.

English-Graded Racing

In English-graded racing, the trap allocation process is governed by Rule 76 set by the Racing Manager. 

Three main types of runners are considered in this trap draw process:

Railers (R): These runners are given an "inside" or "rails" designation and are allocated the first available trap position closest to the inside rail.

Middle Trackers (M): These runners are designated as "middle" and are placed in the trap positions next to the nearest inside runner, as per a recent change in the procedure.

Wide Runners (W): Wide runners are given an "outside" or "wide" designation and are allocated the outermost trap position. In very rare cases, like in a race with 6 wide runners, a wide runner may be placed in the inside trap.

Trap Draw Mechanism. Source: Towcester Racecourse
Trap Draw Mechanism. Source: Towcester Racecourse

Open Race Trap Draw Procedure

The trap draw process focuses on properly seeding and allocating these three runner types according to their designated positions on the track.

Determining trap assignments in Open Race events involves three separate steps:

Unseeded Runners Draw: Greyhounds without seeding are drawn first, with the first one placed in the inside box of Heat 1, the second in the inside box of Heat 2, and so on.

Middle Seeds Draw: The middle-seeded greyhounds are drawn next and assigned trap positions.

Wide Seeds Draw: Finally, the greyhounds with the widest seeding are drawn and given the remaining trap positions.

Racing line and Seeding position

Greyhound racing involves strategic decisions that can impact race outcomes. One such decision is adjusting a greyhound's natural racing line or seeding position. This type of adjustment often occurs after the greyhound's initial trial run at a track.

When a greyhound is first trialled at a track before a competition, it may not follow its natural racing line. If this occurs, with the owner's permission, the trainer can request a change to the dog's seeding position from the racing manager. The change is only granted if there is a genuine belief the dog would perform better starting from a different trap position.

In short, Trainers can request changes to a greyhound's seeding position if its initial trial run suggests it would benefit from starting a race from a different trap position, though such changes are subject to approval.

Race Seeding

The primary purpose of race seeding is to maintain safety in greyhound racing. 

It serves two main goals:

Promoting Clean Racing: Race seeding helps reduce the chances of collisions or other incidents on the track, leading to cleaner, more trouble-free races.

Maximising Performance: By creating a safer racing environment, seeding allows the greyhounds to compete to the fullest of their abilities, without being hindered or distracted by potential safety concerns.

While changes to the seeding process can impact a dog's performance, the fundamental motivation behind race seeding is to prioritise the safety and well-being of the greyhounds and the overall integrity of the racing events.

In the context of greyhound racing, securing an optimal starting position is essential for the dog to effectively and safely implement its race strategy. Significant thought and care go into these starting position decisions, to protect the well-being of the dogs while also improving the overall quality of the race.

In certain countries, such as Ireland, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, the process for determining a greyhound's starting position in a race is significantly different from the approach used in more regulated racing environments. In these countries, the racing authorities do not employ a seeding system to assign starting positions. Instead, they rely on a random "box draw" to randomly allocate the starting positions to the participating greyhounds.

Box Draw starting position. Source: Australian Racing Greyhound
Box Draw starting position. Source: Australian Racing Greyhound

Box Draw

There is no preferential treatment or specific starting positions given to greyhounds in these countries. Instead, the starting positions are assigned randomly through a box drawing process. This random box draw can significantly impact various aspects of the race, such as the success of a greyhound's race strategy, the dog's overall performance, and the final race outcomes.

The random nature of the box draw is a key difference from other greyhound racing systems, as it places a strong emphasis on the role of luck in determining the results. The box draw holds a prominent position in shaping a greyhound's racing experience in Ireland, America, Australia, and New Zealand, as it can heavily influence the course and outcome of the race.

To make informed predictions about winners in greyhound racing, it can be helpful to conduct private trials. These trials allow you to observe how a greyhound's performance is impacted by different starting trap positions. Understanding the potential advantages of specific trap positions, such as those next to vacant traps, can provide valuable insights.

The purpose of conducting private trials is to evaluate how different starting trap positions may affect a greyhound's performance. This is done by placing the greyhound in various starting positions and observing any changes in its performance.

The "good draw theory" is the common belief that a greyhound drawn next to a vacant trap has a better starting position. This is because the increased racing room early in the race can lead to an improved chance of starting well, and the reduced risk of interference from other dogs can enhance the greyhound's overall performance.

However, it's important to consider the individual characteristics of each race, such as the competing dogs' composition and the greyhound's specific running style. These factors can influence the advantages of different trap positions.

In summary, predicting winners in greyhound racing may require assessing multiple factors, including conducting private trials and evaluating trap position advantages. By carefully analysing race make-up and the greyhounds' running styles, bettors can make more informed decisions when selecting potential winners.

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