I had hoped to bring you my ratings approach workout this issue, but lack of space precludes it. I'll bring it to you later in the year.

In the meantime, I think all keen greyhound fans will be interested in the details of a new system called The Magic 5. This one originated in Britain many years ago and was included in the private files of 'Mr X', whose story we brought to you some years back.

The system is a clever one because it is centred around winning performances. That means STRONG form.

Importantly, the win that is chosen is a very good win, not a narrow one or a close lucky one. The Magic 5 wants to zero in on a big-margin victory, and thus comes the name of the system.

To qualify, a dog must have won a race by at least 5 lengths at any of its last 5 starts.

On most tracks, a win of this degree indicates a dog in top form. It aims to cash-in on these in-form, big-margin winners.

The following are the rules. I have adapted some of the original UK rules. Over there, 6-dog fields are the norm, while here, and in the USA, we have 8-dog fields. THE MAGIC 5 PLAN

  1. Check the form of each runner and tick off any which have won a race by 5 lengths or more within the past 5 outings.
  2. Eliminate any qualifier whose last start was more than 30 days ago.
  3. If there are three or more qualifiers, ignore the race.
  4. If there are two qualifiers, one with a city win and one with a country or provincial win, the selection is the city winner.
  5. If there are two equal winners as qualifiers, back both if prices permit a profit to be made of at least 50 per cent. (That is, bet 2, return must be 3 or more). This means a minimum acceptable price of 2/1 on both dogs.
  6. If there are two qualifiers with qualifying wins at the same track, back the dog that ran the fastest time.

The originator of the system recommended a progressive staking plan for backing the selections. It's one that the less conservative punters among you may wish to consider.

The progression is based on following a dog that wins a race by 5 lengths. The dog is then allowed 5 starts and is backed until it wins again on the basis of:


This is a total bet of 19 units at the most. As soon as the dog wins, the sequence is ended. If it happens to win by 5 or more lengths, a new sequence is begun.

Let's say the dog wins by 5 lengths, and you start backing it at its next 5 runs. It loses four times, so you are out of pocket 11 units. The next bet is 8 units. If the dog wins at, say, 6/4, your return is 18 units, which more or less evens out the sequence.

A winner at 7/4 and longer starts to put you into clear profit.

The UK creator summed up his betting approach as follows:

"Back by increasing stakes, the sum of the last 2 bets. Note that generally speaking, the longer the dog goes without winning, the better the odds, and as this coincides with the higher stake, some good winning prices can be confidently anticipated."

The more conservative among you, may consider that level stakes is a better way to go. However, if you back 4 losers, that makes you 4 down, and the fifth bet will have to produce a 4/1 winner to enable you to break even.

So, the progression bet requires greater investment but a shortpriced winner to get square, while the level stakes approach, though cheaper, requires a dog at 4/1 to break square.

The Magic 5 system is, I think, a good one, whether you operate it race by race, or dog by dog. It's what I call a handy spot-play system that will throw up valuepriced winners on a regular basis.

Systems like these are never THE definitive answer to greyhound racing betting, but used in conjunction with your form analysis selections, or my ratings, they can prove a useful adjunct, providing you with wildcard selections that sometimes will enable you to strike a windfall return with a trifecta or a double, and so on.

In next month's PPM, space permitting, I'll be bringing you a look at the operation of the ratings approach that I unveiled recently. I'm sure you'll find this most interesting, especially as I'm hoping to have it computerised in the near future, so it can operate directly off the Internet.

By George ‘Barker’ Bellfield