I’ve talked in recent issues about factors of form in greyhound racing. Last month, I explained how easy it is to use a simple formula to find your selections. In this article, I intend to go over once again the formula and then to suggest some final filtering.

The essence of any dog form approach simply has to be centred around speed. As punters interested in backing the dog most likely to win, we need to find which of the animals is the fastest in the race, based on past performance, and then to assess if it can run the fastest time in the upcoming race.

To do this, we look at its box position and its ability in handling the track. I’ve given you a formula already for deciding the box favourability. If a dog is in box 1, you allot 1 point for each time in its last 5 or 6 starts that it has run a placing from boxes 1/2/3. The same goes for a dog in box 2.

If in box 3, the bonus points are given for any placed run in boxes 2/3/4; for box 4 you give the points for any placed run from boxes 3/4/5. So far as box 5 goes, the points are allotted for placed runs from boxes 4 / 5 / 6, and for box 6, the points are for placed runs from 5/6/7.

In the final two boxes, 7 and 8, the points are given for placed efforts from 6/7/8. Track ability can only be decided by wins at the track. For each win, up to 5 wins, allot 1 point for each.

In looking at speed, we want to find the best RECENT times. Formguides will list a dog’s best winning time, but quite often this may have been recorded 12 months earlier, and will bear no relation to the times a dog is currently clocking. He may be running much faster or much slower.

So we need to check the recent times a dog has registered at the current track. If he’s won, you have no problem. If he’s been beaten, you must work out the time, using the formula of 0.063s equalling 1 length.

If a dog is beaten 3.5 lengths, and the winner ran 30.28s, then the beaten dog’s time is 0.063 x 3.5 equalling 0.22, added to 30.28 equalling a final time of 30.50s.

Once you’ve got all your times and box/track data assembled, you can either simply add up the points and back the dog with the highest number of points OR you can throw in some final filters.

You may well consider that speed is all-important and decide to slot in the dog with the fastest recent time as your No. 1 pick. Sometimes, using the formula, you’ll find that the fastest dog can be pushed down to second or third pick because another dog, with a slower time, will have its points score beefed up by its box/track points.

It could also be a good idea to isolate the top four points-scorers and then subject them to further analysis. When did they record their best times? In recent weeks, or further back? The longer the period of time since a best run, the more you should query it.

A lot can happen in a month in a dog’s life. Let’s say the best time was recorded three weeks earlier. Since then, you might see, the dog has started another four times and its form has tapered off.

Comparing a contender like this, with a rival who has registered a best time much more recently, I would always go for the ‘recent run’ dog. The line of betting is also something of a guide. Unfortunately, pre-race markets are notoriously unreliable. You need to be at the track to see what’s happening, or be at home watching SKY TV’s dogs’ coverage.

If you see your No. 1 or No. 2 selections at big odds, you can jump in for the overlay potential. I’ve struck many winners between 10/1 and 25/1 using my speed/box/track formula. It never ceases to amaze me how punters miss the speed dogs.

Probably it’s because they just don’t study the form! This is where you, as a form analyst, can gain a big advantage. You possess ‘the knowledge’ while most of your fellow punters are betting in the dark. They wouldn’t have a clue about any of the dogs’ past performances.

They provide the ‘mug’ money that will enable you to make a long-term profit. You want to back the dogs you know have the speed to win, while they can back the dogs you know do not possess this winning speed.

If you restrict yourself to value bets on your overpriced selections, you really can’t go wrong. The winners will flow. It’s up to you to do all the work and make it happen.

Click here to read Part 2.
Click here to read Part 1.

By George ‘Barker’ Bellfield

PRACTICAL PUNTING - JUNE 1999