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    Greyhound Racing: How to Read a Race Card
Greyhound Racing: How to Read a Race Card
Studying the race card from the bookmaker. Source: https://www.timeform.com/

Greyhound Racing: How to Read a Race Card

Comparing a race card at a greyhound race to a restaurant menu is apt. Just as diners peruse menu pages to make their selections, racegoers analyse race cards to choose their contenders. While understanding a restaurant menu might be straightforward, decoding the numbers and symbols on a race card can be confusing, especially for beginners.

Initially, a race bulletin might resemble a secret code, with a few recognisable words surrounded by numbers and symbols. It requires some skill to decipher this information. Making informed choices about which dogs to bet on depends on the player's analytical abilities to assess their chances.

The header of the race card provides essential general information. For instance, it might indicate that the race took place on Monday, October 2, 2023, starting at 10:59 am. It could be the 168th race of the month, and the first of the day, covering a distance of 270m in a flat race of class D3.

Details about the prize fund are typically provided on the right side of the card. For example, the first-place winner may receive £110, while the remaining five dogs out of the six entered receive £40 each. Additionally, contributions from organisations like the British Greyhound Racing Foundation may be noted.

Sample of part of a racing card. Source: https://oxford-stadium.co.uk/blog/what-information-is-included-in-a-greyhound-racecard/
Sample of part of a racing card. Source: https://oxford-stadium.co.uk/blog/what-information-is-included-in-a-greyhound-racecard/

Let's consider the data for dog number 2, Princess Casey, with a blue box colour. Although the race card contains information about six participants, we'll focus on three for illustration.

Under Princess Casey's name, we learn that the dog has participated in 13 races, winning once and securing second place three times. Further to the right, the owner's name, Mrs. S. Atkinson, is listed, followed by the trainer's name, S. Atkinson, suggesting that Princess Casey is trained by her owner.

Below the trainer's name, we find additional information about the dog, including its colour (black), gender (male), lineage (parents Malachi and Kilara Beauty), and birthdate (February 2021).

Understanding these elements allows racegoers to make more informed betting decisions. Analysing each dog's racing history, trainer, and characteristics can help predict their performance and increase the likelihood of success.

In the recent race on September 26, Princess Casey competed at a distance of 270m from starting box number 3. Despite starting from 6th position, she managed to advance to 3rd place during the race. However, she ultimately finished in 4th place, trailing the winner, Waddos Georgie, by 4 lengths. Throughout the race, Princess Casey exhibited various behaviours, indicated by the race card abbreviations: MidTRis (started in the middle, then moved towards the rail), SAw (Slow Away), and RunOn (picked up speed at the end). The race time was recorded as 16.18 seconds, with a track condition adjustment of +5. Princess Casey weighed 27.9 kg, and her coefficient was 5/1. The race belonged to class D3, and the estimated time, accounting for track conditions, was 16.55 seconds. 

In the preceding race on September 17, also at a distance of 270m and starting from box number 3, Princess Casey once again demonstrated her competitive spirit. Despite initially occupying the 4th position, she managed to move up to 3rd place by the end of the race, finishing just 1 length behind the winner, Young Henry. Throughout the race, Princess Casey followed a similar pattern, transitioning from the middle of the track to the inside (MidTRis) and running alongside another competitor (Crd 1). The recorded time for this race was 16.62 seconds, with a track condition correction of -10. Princess Casey's weight was recorded as 28.3 kg, and her coefficient indicated she was the favourite (5/4F). The race class was D3, and the estimated time considering track conditions was 16.61 seconds.

You can also find a schedule of all previous races, along with a list of abbreviations and symbols commonly used in the race bulletin. Some of these abbreviations include:

·       Ris: Indicates running closer to the inside rail of the track.

·       MidTRis: Signifies a transition from the middle of the track to the inside.

·       MidTW: Indicates movement from the middle of the track to the outside.

·       ClrRun: Denotes a clear run with no obstructions.

·       Ld: Refers to leading at some point during the race.

·       ALd: Indicates leading throughout the entire race.

·       Crd: Shows that the dog was surrounded by other runners throughout the race.

Race bulletins may vary slightly depending on the operator, as shown in the examples provided:

Race bulletin. Source: https://www.bookiesfreebets.co.uk/guides/how-to-read-a-greyhound-racecard/
Race bulletin. Source: https://www.bookiesfreebets.co.uk/guides/how-to-read-a-greyhound-racecard/

In 2021, seven circuits, including Kinsley, Newcastle, Nottingham, Perry Barr, Sunderland, Swindon, and Yarmouth, collaborated to create a single digital race card. This digital version allows users to view a map, replays of recent performances, and even photos of each dog on mobile devices. Reading this digital map is similar to reading the traditional paper version, as the compilation principle remains unchanged.

Racing map for mobile devices. Source: https://greyhoundstar.co.uk/brilliant-racecard-breakthrough
Racing map for mobile devices. Source: https://greyhoundstar.co.uk/brilliant-racecard-breakthrough/

While the race card serves as the main source of information for bettors, it's essential not to rely on this data blindly. Factors such as weather conditions, track conditions, the dog's health, training, nutrition, and weight gain should also be considered. Bettors demonstrate their skill by combining these various data points, isolating the most crucial information, and making informed betting decisions.

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