Get the formlines in order, and you're on the way to success, whether it's dog racing or horseracing. This is a credo I believe in.
When editor Brian Blackwell asked me to compile a special form chart for the greyhounds, I was delighted because it's something I've been wanting to do for a long time.
My hunch is that by using the chart, and giving the ticks in the right places, the average dog punter will very much boost his or her winning prospects.
With a good formguide, say the Gold Guide or the Greyhound Recorder, you'll have all the facts at your fingertips. Following the chart, all you have to do is answer the 'factors' and then count up the ticks.
The dog, or dogs, with the highest number of ticks should be the best prospect/s in the race. Simple as that.
Cut it out, get as many copies made as you like, and away you go. Here's my rundown on the 12 chosen form factors:
Did the dog finish in the first three placings last start? This is important. A dog with a 1 or 2 or 3 next to its name at its latest run is usually a dog racing in form. Not always, but mostly. It invariably proves a sound guide to a dog with a chance.
WINS IN LAST THREE STARTS
We take this idea a step further. Has the dog collected two wins, or even three, in its last three starts. If so so it gets a tick. The reason is that a winning dog is a dog in form and is very likely to be fit and improving. That's the sort of runner you need to be considering.
WINNER AT THE TRACK
Ability at the track where the dog is to run is very important. Just like horses, greyhounds can be track specialists. Each track has its little differences (big ones in some cases) and this means a dog may handle one track and not another. Track wins are important.
WINNER AT THE DISTANCE
Again, we come to a key form factor, that of winning ability at the distance of the current race. You can allow 25m either way (that is, 500m you can accept 475m to 525m. Some dogs are sprinters, some are stayers. When you rate a dog you need to be sure it can perform at the distance of the race.
Has the dog run the fastest time of all the runners in the race at the distance and at the track in its last five starts? This means checking out each dog's performance record. Work out beaten times at 0.063s to a length. Thus, a dog beaten 4.5 lengths to the winner's time of 30.66s will actually have clocked 30.94. Remember that only ONE dog can get the tick (unless equal times).
Some kennels have a lot of dogs and win a lot of races. But some small-string trainers still get a high percentage of winners. Use your knowledge, and statistics, to decide if a dog deserves a tick for coming from a reliable and winning trainer's kennel. Good trainers, good dogs ... worth remembering.
Is the dog drawn well? This is a vital component of your form chart analysis. Go through a dog's form and see if it is boxed well. Some dogs like the inside, others are better off on the outside. It depends on whether they are early speeders, late closers, railers or wide runners.
Dogs on the first few lines of the pre-post market will win a high majority of races. Give a tick if your dog is on the first three lines of betting in the early market (a line may contain more than one runner).
A prominent position in the market is always a positive pointer to a dog being a true contender.
Does a dog have early speed that will be useful in the race? It usually is. You should check a dog's form and see how it gets away from the boxes. Any dog who consistently is in the first three in the early call and holds the position to the back is worth a tick.
NO LUCK LAST START
In this factor, we are looking for dogs that can be considered to have been unlucky last start. Was it baulked, checked, bumped, forced wide, slowly away etc? Treat this aspect very carefully and only give a tick when you are sure a dog was out of luck.
RACING WITHIN SEVEN DAYS
Recent form is good form. A dog backing up in a week or less is a fit dog. It's worthwhile to pay heed to this recency factor with a tick on the form chart. The longer a dog is off the racing scene the more likely it is that its had problems.
BETTING LAST TWO STARTS
Has the dog been well backed at its last two starts? I suggest we use 4 betting points as the guide. If a dog's last two SPs add up to 4 or less then it can be given the tick as having been very well fancied.
Example: Started at 6/4 and 2/1 last two starts, that adds to 3.5 so it would get a tick.
YOUR IN-DEPTH FORM ANALYSIS CHART
By George “Barker” Bellfield
PRACTICAL PUNTING - JUNE 2004