A night at the greyhound racing is a fun thing to do. Get together with friends, have a few drinks and perhaps a bite to eat watching those cute dogs chase the bunny – or rather what they think is a bunny. An integral part of your evening will involve picking a dog to back in the races. Just a small net for fun and perhaps a small return. But there’s so much information in the race card which can be confusing to the uninitiated. To help you get to grips with it, here is a quick run-down of what is presented to you in the race 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 can look a bit daunting at first although is not difficult to get used to.
The main (or bold) type is reasonably straightforward. Reading from left to right you usually have the trap number the greyhound will start from, the owner, trainer and a summary of number of races run, won or placed in. Underneath this you have the dog’s form for its last six races. This is what you want to scrutinise to help pick those winners. With that in mind here’s the usual type of information the typical UK greyhound racing card will show you for each dog in the race. Date of last run
Distance: The distance the race is to be run over expressed in meters. For 280,500, 660 as appropriate.
Trap number: The number of the trap the dog is to start the race from. The dog will wear a race jacket of the corresponding number to help you identify it during the race.
Time to the first split time: This is the time (in seconds) that the dog travelled from the starting traps to, usually, the first bend of the race. For example 4:57 means the dog ran to the first split in slightly over four and a half seconds. An indicator of how fast the animal is away from the traps.
Position through the race: This is expressed as a series of numbers to reflect the dog’s position during each of its previous six races. For example 5631 would mean that the dog was slowly to start then got in to its stride to move up to third place and eventually win. Conversely 1246 would indicate that the animal started brightly but did not have the speed to retain it.
Finishing position: Self-explanatory. The position the greyhound finished in the race. Expressed as a number between 1 to 6.
Distance beaten (or won by if won the race): This is expressed as a whole number or a 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 dog in second if the dog won): The name of the dog which won your greyhound’s last race or if your greyhound won then the name of the dog it beat will be shown here.
Comments about how the dog ran: The abbreviations used here are intended to give a snapshot of the race. Most race cards give definitions of the abbreviations so you can follow them. For example crowded2 means that the greyhound found some trouble on turn two and was short of room or bumped start signified that the dog was bumped by an opponent coming out of the traps.
Winning time: Self-exaplanatory. The time the winning greyhound recorded.
Going adjustment in hundredths of a second: Winning times are adjusted according to prevailing track conditions. A plus sign means that the going is fast whereas a minus sign means the going was slow – for example it might be a wet track after rain.
Weight: The weight of the greyhound in kilograms. All greyhounds are weighed at the track to ensure there is no discrepancy between declared weight and actual race day weight. Important to compare with previous racing weights for consistency.
Starting price: The price the winning greyhound was returned at for betting purposes. If it was a trial race then it will show the number of dogs in the trial. For example T3 would be a three dog trial).
Grade of race: Signifies the level of the race. For example A2, A4 etc. The lower the number the higher the grade of race.
Calculated time: The winning time after any going adjustments are applied. An asterisk shows the greyhound’s best recent time. Look for the fastest recent recorded time over all the greyhounds in the race over the distance also. This is known as the “time dog”.
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 race. Part of the fun is using the information to form your opinion of which greyhound will win, debating it with your friends then seeing who is right.