A day at the dogs might not carry the same glamour as the big horse racing events, but there's plenty to be said for this unique sport. If you know what to look out for, you can make a pretty penny too.
For starters, greyhound racing enthusiasts are blessed with a sport that provides a detailed form guide to every meet. These can tell you just about everything you need to develop a successful betting strategy; and they are even readily available at online gambling sites like Bet365. And, unlike horses, greyhounds don't have riders: so their performance in recent races usually gives a very good idea of what you can expect when they run.
With that in mind, the first thing to check is what class they raced previously. This is usually expressed as a letter and a number (e.g. A4). The lower the number, the higher the class. The letter 'T' stands for 'Trial' while 'OR' means open race. It's advisable to keep your eyes peeled for dogs that have just moved up or down a class, and check their placing in the last few races.
A rising star that's just stepped up a category may be priced as a rookie, and offer good value. Although you may want to check the pedigree of their trainer to be sure the dog can step up. At the other end of the spectrum, some dogs are dropped down a class after a string of sub-par runs. These may be a good, though risky, bet against lesser opposition.
When you've found yourself a dog you fancy, you can get into the nitty gritty of their form. This is all about knowing the course and the field: in short, the context in which your dog is racing.
Beware of dogs that are running at different distances than in previous outings, and have a look at their weight too. If you're watching a short race, heavier, more muscular greyhounds may have that edge in pace. This is something you can also check by having a look at their lap times on your form guide.
In the lower classes, it's also useful to know which dogs are fastest into the first corner. Less experienced dogs can get into trouble on the bends, particularly in wet conditions, and if your dog's well away already they won't be caught up in any trouble. But do make sure to check whether your dog can keep up the pace for the whole race by checking finishing times.
Once you've examined the dog's performance in previous races, the next key factors in making a successful bet are knowing its suitability to conditions. Weight and distance are both a part of this, and the next piece of the puzzle is 'going'. A wet course will usually run a little slower, and be noted by a negative (-) number, while dry courses run faster (+).
If your animal has run a few good races, is in a decent field, and the conditions are right, you could be onto a winner. Don't forget the 'remarks' section of a form guide though. This offers valuable tips about previous runs, from whether they ran a crowded pack to if they were slow out of the gates - this can really assist your betting strategy.