Speed figures are a potential gold mine in greyhound betting. There are however, significant obstacles to be overcome in order to get figures which can be easily compared. Incorrect speed figures will lead to incorrect conclusions – and the rapid disappearance of a backers funds.
The biggest hurdle to overcome where greyhound speed figures are concerned, is the differences in tracks. These differences come in all manner of forms, from obvious differences in race distances, to more subtle nuances, such as box placement and the angle of the bends. These subtle changes from track to track can be missed, particularly where race distance is similar, but if they are overlooked, then comparing times directly will lead to mistakes.
Where race distances are close, it can be tempting to take short cuts and treat times as comparable. The truth is however, that any extra distance might be multiplied by other factors (track condition or bend angle for example) and direct comparison will lead to wildly inaccurate findings.
Single track Speed figures
The best, and possibly only, approach to greyhound speed figures is to produce them track by track, based on average times in that grade, over the distance being run. In order to firmly establish any ‘home made’ ratings, a large volume of data is required. Once this is established however, the performance at other tracks can begin to be assessed.
Once speed ratings are established at particular tracks, their relationships can be expanded to other venues. Where greyhounds regularly race on two or three tracks, speed figures can be assessed by monitoring performance, and an adjustment can be made. As an example, a speed rating of 100 at one track, might be “worth” 103 at another track. This sort of comparison is only possible with a large amount of data at both tracks, as any other approach may lead to conclusions being made that are not correct.
If speed figures are calculated track by track, then individual traits from each venue can be included and accounted for. One prime example would be that of box statistics. Each track will have slightly different track layouts that mean bigger or smaller variances between winning percentages from each box. Speed figures, when adjusted for going and the like, need to also include box adjustments specifically for each track to keep them ‘true’.
Box statistics and track condition can all be researched for each and every track. While the differences might be small it is important information and enough to provide an edge in the betting market. Calculating speed figures at home with partial or even worse, inaccurate information, will lead to poor figures that get worse and worse as time goes on, as poor information is compared to even more poor information.
Speed figures – Conclusions
Accurate speed figures can be very profitable, but take a great deal of effort to get right. It really is a pursuit which demands total dedication – speed figures deteriorate very quickly if corners are cut or data not recorded. It is also worth noting that using them in isolation is a risky proposition. A greyhound will clearly only record it’s fastest time if it is unimpeded and can run the lines it wants to. Most races will not allow the dogs this luxury – so while it is of great benefit to know what potential a greyhound has, it is only one part of the story.