GREYHOUND RACING BEGINNERS GUIDEscans00905-000 (2)

Dundalk Track

A race meeting at Dundalk Stadium normally consists of 10-12 races with 6 greyhounds in each race. The racecourse at Dundalk Stadium is oval in circumference with four bends. The greyhounds run on sand.

Greyhound’s Class

Before being eligible to race at Dundalk Stadium, a greyhound must qualify to race at the stadium. Through the process of official trials the greyhound will race against similar greyhounds to determine their class. Greyhounds are generally trialled over the standard distance (525 yards) or over a sprint distance (350 yards), thus enabling them to race over both distances. The Racing Manager will then place the greyhound in a grade that is suitable to the greyhound’s class and experience, depending on the time of their official trials.

As the greyhound matures, its’ class will be determined by his/her own performance. If the greyhound is unable to win in a grade they have previously qualified in, he will be dropped in class. Adversely, if he has shown that he has a proven ability to win in that class, he will be promoted in grade continuously until he finds his niche. There are many variables which decide whether a greyhound can win in any given class such as, his ability to lead, stay or his trap draw.

The Grading System

The Grading System will range from the lowest grade which is A9 to the highest grade which will be open class over the four bend distances (eg, 525 yards). As a the dog wins his races he/she will move up in the grades as his winning time improves.

If the greyhound is competing in a novice race which would be the first race of his career there will be a N in front of the grade he is competing in for example N2.

If the greyhound is competing in a sprint which will be over two bends on the circuit there will be an S in front of the grade he is competing in for example S2.

Finally, if the greyhound is running a long distance race usually called a marathon over 6 bends (eg, 700 yards) or further there will be a D in front of the grade he is competing in for example D2.

The letter will represent the race type and the following number will represent the class that the greyhound is competing in.

Greyhounds can be seeded inside (I), middle (M) or wide (W) depending on each greyhounds favoured trap. If there are five inside seeded greyhounds in a race, it is a case of 1st dog to be drawn will get the inside trap 1, the next dog will get trap 2 and so on.

The trainer can change the greyhound seed if he/she feels that the dog can run better out of a certain trap.

Trap Draw

Trap draws are automatically drawn by Bord na gCon and are significant to each greyhound’s chances of winning. Depending on whether a greyhound needs an inside, middle or wide seed, and what trap he gets when the draw is made can make all the difference between getting a clear run or not. This is why trap draws are so important in greyhound racing, and why monitoring the path a greyhound takes in races is important when considering a possible bet on the dog.

Above shows the layout of Dundalk stadium with both finishing lines inserted as L1 and L2. Each set of traps will run a certain amount of bends and the distance will finish at either Line 1 or Line 2 which will be lit up during the race. Below is a listed table showing the category of the race, the distance, the amount of bends to be run and the winning finish line number.

CATEGORY OF RACE

DISTANCE OF RACE

AMOUNT OF BENDS TO BE RUN

WINNING FINISH LINE NUMBER

Sprint

350 yards

2

1st

Sprint

400 yards

2

2nd

Standard

525 yards

4

1st

Standard

550 yards

4

1st

Standard

575 yards

4

2nd

Standard

600 yards

4

2nd

Standard

620 yards

4

1st

Distance

670 yards

4

2nd

Distance

900 yards

6

1st

sprint race is usually classified as the ‘speed race’ which shows the dogs ability to run a two bend race with pace and at an extremely tempo. The sprint race is run over 2 bends where the greyhound will run from the back of the track to the front of the track before the spectators and will cross the given winning finish line tabulated above for the distance listed.

standard race is the most common category of race held at Dundalk stadium. It is a four bend race where the dogs will begin and finish in front of the stand whilst completing a circuit of the track over the five distances listed above. Again the finish line that will be used will depend on the distance of the race and that finish line will be lit up to show the spectators when the race is finished.

The distance race is usually classified as the ‘marathon race’ which shows the dogs staying ability and stamina. The distance races in Dundalk stadium are run over 670 yards and 900 yards respectively with the latter been run over the demanding 6 bend circuit. These are the longest distances that a dog can run at Dundalk stadium and always provide a high quality entertainment factor to the race card on the night.

If you are having trouble picking your winners, just follow some simple ‘doggie secrets’ which may help you in your quest to finding your winners.

Advice from a greyhound enthusiast ”The way I try to pick my winners is by looking to see which dog is in the best form. I always watch the dogs on parade to see if they shake their bodies from the tip of their nose to the tips of their tails. It’s a good sign to see if they will run a good race”.

Another track regular says that ”you should always look at the dogs last two races as dogs like anyone can have an off day in their last race”.

And for all the first time track goers, pick the greyhound name that sticks out or means something to you. You never know you could have that beginners luck!