Dan Casey is the author of the best-seller Greyhound Money Management in the 90s, plus many other books on greyhound racing. His books are available from Internet bookshops.

Your mental attitude is an important factor in determining how you handicap and bet on greyhounds.  The serious fan must treat the track as a place where he hopes to make a consistent profit by following logical and sensible ways of handicapping and betting.

Your entire approach to picking and betting on dogs has to be much better than average if you hope to be a consistent winner.

Most fans are not winners. If you take the time to observe the typical fan you'll find his approach to dog racing is flawed from beginning to end. You need to avoid the common bad habits if you're to be a winner.

The typical fan has no idea what he will do at the track from one race to another. He has no plan of attack, and no method of handicapping. He goes to the track (or the TAB) unprepared for the battle of wits between the bettors as they compete against each other.

Serious fans have to take a different approach. A profit of 10 per cent on your bets is a realistic goal. This means your aim will be to win $50 if you bet $500 during the meeting, or $100 if your bets add up to $1,000.

Poker players treat their poker games as one long game that lasts for months or even a year. They will have winning nights and losing nights, but their main concern is how they do over an extended period.

They accept that even the best poker player can be beaten by a lesser player on any given night. Greyhound punters must develop the same mental attitude. You must be willing to bet much larger amounts than the average fans, which will only be possible if you feel that you are superior to them in your ability and discipline.

You will NOT be a successful handicapper if you can only bet the average amount of $100 to $125 at the track. If you bet, say, only $100 on all the races you simply will not be willing to put in the time and effort to make $10 a day. Go to the track with $100 and expect to make $100 means you are living in a fantasy world.

Certainly, on any given night you could make much more than this but to expect that profit level to be sustained is totally unrealistic.

Once you have the goal in mind of a 10 per cent profit you have taken a giant step toward controlling the situation. Instead of dreaming, you are being realistic. Instead of betting haphazardly, you can approach greyhound racing as a long process that has to be followed to be a consistent winner.

Here are some snippets of advice:

  • Have a specific goal in mind for each race.
  • Handicap the races ahead of time so you won't be distracted by the noise, confusion and excitement at the track.
  • Know which races offer you the best opportunities to make money, and which races are too tight to handicap with confidence and should be skipped.
  • Plan ahead how you will bet on each race you handicap. If you rate a dog as a top chance why waste money boxing it when you can get a greater return on your money by making it a banker to win in a trifecta?
  • Serious punters will find the best betting approach geared to their handicapping and stick to it every race.
  • Winning requires a combination of winning percentages and average payoffs. By knowing the type of bet you will make in each race you achieve a stability that most fans can never obtain.
  • If you skip from boxing to bankers, from quinellas to trifectas, varying the amount of your bets from race to race, it is difficult, if not impossible, to tell how you've been handicapping and what steps you should take to improve your results.
  • When the races are over, it's very easy to see that you would have been better off if you made the #7 dog a banker in the 3rd race, instead of boxing it. You may see that you would have hit the quinella in the 8th race if you had not put your money on the trifecta, and so forth.
  • After the fact analysis doesn't really have any significance. What you want to know is how such occurrences relate to future races, the ones where you risk your money.
  • Sit down in a quiet place and figure out what will make you happy as a handicapper, or what type of bettor you want to be.
  • If you are not content with making 10 per cent profit on your bets, then maybe you are expecting too much from your betting?
  • Treat greyhound racing as a fun entertainment if you like, but be prepared to PAY for your pleasure.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with punters who bet without studying the upcoming race form.  There is nothing wrong with those who always accept someone else's tips, or who listen to what their friends think or who look for mystical clues.

These fans find the track exciting and they pay for treating greyhound racing as a form of entertainment. By contrast, if you are a serious fan you have to put in concentrated periods of time, study all aspects of dog racing and handicapping, and train yourself to stick to the selections and bets you determine ahead of time.

Only then will you be in a proper frame of mind to do much better than the average fan and greatly increase your chance of winning.

And now for some do's and don'ts when you are doing the form:

  • Keep written records. Commit your information to paper.
  • Prepare properly. Get as much form information as possible.
  • Learn racing characteristics (wide runner, railer, early pace etc).
  • Watch the replays ... a key step.
  • Bet "special situations" with confidence and increased betting units.
  • Always look for value.
  • If you are very keen on a longshot don't put less than your normal bet on it. The aim of the game is to nab these sorts of big-priced winners on a regular basis.
  • Don't chase when losing. Follow your original game plan. There will always be another day's racing.
  • Concentrate on making a profit, not just cashing tickets.
  • Don't feel you have to bet on every race. Be selective.
  • Don't be a complainer. No one likes to hear your sob stories.
  • Set your betting tactics before you go to the track, or before you go to the TAB, or before you settle down to watch the races on TV. Don't sway from your considered approach.
  • Always keep the four C Factors in mind - competence, concentration, confidence and control.
  • When handicapping, take careful note of each dog's best times at the distance and at the track.
  • Note each dog's racing characteristics and check them out against the box a dog will start from, and the box positions of its rivals.
  • Never go to the track looking for massive profits. Keep the 10 per cent profit figure in mind.
  • In a tightly graded race, when it's difficult to choose the main bet, take careful note of trainer strike rates. Good kennel and good dogs are a good bet.
  • Look for the early pace dogs in sprints, especially the shorter sprints between 400m and 500m.
  • Look for the UNEXPECTED to happen. Think very carefully about each race. Even when a dog is a raging hot favourite, always ensure you analyse the form of the rest of the field.

By Dan Casey