Last issue I talked about the various important factors that, used intelligently, will enable you to narrow a field of greyhounds down to the main contenders. From that point, you can analyse these contenders even further in a bid to sort them out into the correct order of choice.

The factors I suggested were of vital importance are as follows: Box Draw Value, Early Speed, Mid-Race Speed, Late Speed, Win and Place Strikes, Likelihood of Interference, Ability At The Track, and Recent Times. If you refer to last month's PPM you will see how you can allot points for each of these factors, on a subjective level. That is, you decide for yourself how many points each dog's various factors deserve.

Where times are concerned, you must work out each dog's exact times in their various races. If a dog runs 2nd, beaten three lengths, he has in fact been beaten approximately 21-100ths of a second. To make it easy for you to convert beaten margins into times, I have drawn up the following list of margins-times.

SPEED CONVERSION

Time
Distance
Time
Distance
.01Nose.355
.03Neck.426
.04.5.456.5
.05.75.497
.061.527.5
.071.568
.101.5.598.5
.142.639
.172.5.669.5
.213.7010
.243.5.7711
.284.8412
.314.5.9113
.9814
This list will make the task of conversion so much easier-a dog beaten 6.5 lengths to the winner's time of 31.20s and you just look at the lost distance and note that 6.5 equals 45-100ths of a second, which is added to 31.20s, giving you the dog's time of 31.65s.

The 'weighting' of all these various factors is the key to the determination of which dog n-tight win. Naturally, it's not easy, but anyone with a keen knowledge of greyhound racing should be able to slot into a pattern of selection, especially when you 'know' most of the dogs you are rating.

You can gain a full-bodied understanding of greyhounds by concentrating your attention on one track. In my case, I earnestly study the Wentworth Park circuit, and use the information contained in the Greyhound Recorder for my form analysis. And always remember that analysis is the key. Not hit-and-miss stuff.

If you apply my Key Dog approach (outlined last month) you will go a long way to helping yourself solve the dog race puzzles. And, make no mistake, each race is a puzzle because no matter what happened in a previous race, even if all the same dogs were running in it, the current race is more than likely to pan out completely different.

This is because the dogs are probably going to occupy different boxes, thus putting a completely unknown element into the proceedings. A dog that may have got away slowly in the previous race might well leave the box like a bullet this time and lead! Who knows! This is what you are going to have to try to anticipate, based on what each dog did in previous contests.

When it comes to any dog race, early speed is always going to play a dominant role. Dogs possessing early speed should be studied closely because the presence of speed in one race, and the ability to lead, might not translate into the same scenario in a dog's next race. This is particularly so when a dog is raised in Class from one race to the next.

What you are trying to do before a race is to determine, based on past form, the potentially fastest dogs in the race. This is as much an art in itself as a science! A dog's times will vary widely, due to a variety of factors. One race a dog can zip home in, say, 30.25 and yet at its next race will finish unplaced with a time of 31s to its name, a difference of some 10 lengths or so.

Your task is to pore over a dog's recent runs to isolate the best times, and to determine if, in the current race, it is likely to be able to reproduce a best time. It is best to cross out any race in which a dog suffered significant interference. It's silly to use data from races like this because they do not give a true indication of a dog's ability.

Once you have done this you can 'average out' what a dog's time is likely to be. I explained something about this in last month's P.P.M. (refer to it if you've forgotten). It is essential, once you have culled a field down to three main contenders, to assess their individual speeds, using recent times as a guide, and ignoring those races in which the dogs were bumped, checked and hampered.

You may find that your three contenders are all within a length of each other. Now you have to probe deeper which boxes did they come from to register their best times? Which boxes do they occupy for the current race? What are their chances of a trouble-free run? What are their performances like on the track in question? How good is their form at, say, their last two starts?

Once you have answered these questions you should be able to pinpoint which dog to select as your No.1 pick. By going through these moves, you are giving yourself every possible chance of securing a high strike rate with your selections. If you can achieve a 40 to 50 per cent record, and this is achieveable, then you should find it relatively easy to make money.

NEXT MONTH: A complete study of two races at Wentworth Park. How I used this assessment method to work out the main contenders - and how they went in their races!