We can learn a lot from greyhound analysts around the world. In my long time in the greyhound game I have derived many ideas from reading what others have to say.

Pender Noriega is one of the great ‘brains’ of greyhound racing.  A real thinker.  His writings may seem a bit pedantic but the message he delivers is spot on the mark.

His advice is often simple and straightforward but that, to my mind, only makes it more worthwhile.  Noriega addresses issues that many greyhound punters refuse to face up to, especially in the area of betting itself.

One of the curses of dog punters is their inability to face the long-term strategy required to emerge a winner. They will slapdash back quinellas and trifectas in every race.

Pender Noriega says: ‘To consistently play quinella boxes, or trifecta boxes, is as much a waste of money as making field bets. Many bettors play boxes out of habit. It is easier to purchase a box and take the lazy way out than try to handicap the race properly.

‘If you continuously make a large number of box bets, or field bets, you are trying to find an easy way of making money in greyhound racing, which is non-existent.’

William ‘Bad Bill’ McBride is another US expert whose views on the greyhound business are widely regarded.  He’s written several books on how to win.

To those punters who say they can’t help themselves betting on too many races, McBride says: ‘Ask yourself – did you come here to the track to bet, or did you come here to win some money? That’s a pretty basic question, and you must answer it for yourself.

As a reader of this magazine, you just may be one of those few folks who considers winning more important than action.  If so, continue to sell yourself on that conviction, and play the game smart. If you don’t, you’d better have some other source of funds to keep replenishing your bankroll.’

McBride, not surprisingly, is a firm believer in the value of serious form analysis.

He says: ‘Do your best to approach each printed program with the conviction that there is likely to be only one or two best races to profit on, and perhaps three or four other races on which the chances are somewhat reasonable.

‘The rest of the races are likely to present unsolvable puzzles and will almost certainly cost you money if you wager on them. 

'If you have any trouble believing this, imagine that you had only enough stake to wager on two races the next time you go to the track.

‘Are you capable enough to discover which two races would present the best opportunity? Certainly you are.  ‘The most basic of handicapping skills would make this plain enough. If you agree with this, then you have admitted there IS a difference in the profit opportunity between different kinds of dog races.

‘The same logic then carries on to say that there are almost certainly at least two races which would present the LEAST opportunity for profit. The rest of the races will fall somewhere between these two extremes.  ‘Playing this scenario correctly is every bit as important as working on the improvement of your handicapping skills.’

And to the dogs themselves, and the formlines? Pender Noriega says: ‘When it comes to running style, the front runner will win more races than any other type of runner.

‘If a front runner is being lowered in grade it will finish in the money over 70 per cent of the time and will usually finish 1st or 2nd.’

This is more or less my own philosophy that a good box draw and an early speed dog are the combinations needed to hit a high percentage of winners.

Whatever you do, put your emphasis on the speed dogs and treat the ‘come from behind’ types as risky betting propositions.

You want your dog to be up there 1st, 2nd or 3rd at the first turn.  If they are in that position, and the form is good, then so are your winning prospects. Keep it simple, bet carefully, emerge a winner.

This is my final article for PPM. Thank you for your support over the last 20 years. I hope I helped you to back a winner or two.

By George ‘Barker’ Bellfield