Horses for courses. We've all heard the phrase, but have you ever thought about applying it to finding winners at the greyhound track?

This information is often overlooked. Does the greyhound you are considering investing on perform well at the track it's about to race at?

Many punters spend hours doing speed and class ratings on greyhounds. These are valid methods for finding winners, but what good are they if the greyhound simply does not like the track where the race is run?

Have you ever backed a dog that has excellent recent form, and is well favoured, only to see it finish unplaced? There may be many reasons for its failure. One could be that the greyhound has no experience at the track. Or worse, may even dislike the track.

There are huge variations between greyhound tracks around Australia. Sand and loam tracks are most common at the city venues, while other tracks have grass surfaces.

Not only do the racing surfaces vary, so does the shape of the tracks. There are tight, two-turn tracks such as Wentworth Park in Sydney or spacious one-turn circuits, like in Cessnock in NSW. There are straight tracks as well.

Obviously it takes a different style of greyhound to win on each track. Some dogs will prefer tight, two turn tracks. Others may prefer the one-turn style of racing. Some greyhounds love loam surfaces, and others relish the grass.

Distance is another factor that must be considered. For example, 400 metres might be as far as some greyhounds can competitively go, while others are more suited to distances over 600 metres and further.

Some greyhounds love the sprint races, which suit dogs that can exit the boxes fast and then lead, while in staying races the dogs can leave their finishing burst until the final stages of a race and finish over the field.

Naturally, these are two very different racing styles. Some greyhounds are simply not suited to distance racing, or vice versa.

It is your job when studying the formguide to look for these clues. The information is readily available. Internet users can access this information for free from the Daily Form Service on the NSWTAB website or from Ozeform at

Most of the Greyhound Racing Authority websites carry the information in their formguides. Printed newspaper formguides such as Greyhound Recorder and Defax include track / distance statistics, too. It's well worth checking this information.

Looking at Sandown in Melbourne on September 4, every winner on the night had previously won over the track and distance. In race 3, over 715m, Oh Behave had a record over the 715m at Sandown of 4 starts for 2 wins and a 3rd, the best track/ distance strike rate of all dogs in the field. Returning a dividend of $5.10 on the NSWTAB, Oh Behave was a good winner for punters who were following the track and distance specialists.

In the same race was a visitor from Sydney, Minus Five, drawn in box 7, it had two recent wins at Wentworth Park over 720m, both wins also from box 7. This looked a good chance on recent form. However, it had not contested any races at Sandown before. The greyhound was unplaced, perhaps needing the run to familiarise itself with the track.

Many dog trainers agree that experience on the track is essential. Often, trainers travelling interstate for feature events like to trial their dogs on the track prior to race day.

Be on the lookout for greyhounds that have had numerous starts at a track, but never won at it. Often a dog can form a dislike to a track, and this can happen for many reasons. A greyhound might have had a bad experience at the track, such as a fall at the first turn. The dogs can often remember, and never perform well at that venue again, while still racing well at other venues.

By keeping a close eye on a dog's track and distance record, you can be confident you are following greyhounds proven to handle the prevailing conditions.

Of course, consider other form factors as well. But the track and distance statistics should certainly help narrow down your selections, and eliminate those dogs that are obviously entered at the wrong track or distance.

By Craig Myers