In this section, I mention famous greyhound races in Great Britain & Ireland and their associated track venues. I include information on race speeds, classic winners and affiliated trainers and compare English dog racing grades with Irish, American and Australian grading systems.
Greyhound Predictor v2.0 Software allows you to simulate four race grades: Open Race, Top Grade, Middle Grade and Low Grade.
In England an 'open race' (form statistic OR) represents the highest standard of racing grades and consists of two divisions - Major Open Races - Category One, Two, Three and Minor Opens. In Ireland the best middle-distance races are called AAO's. In America these contests are known as RSA's or SA's (Racing Secretaries A Class). In Australia all major competitions are classified as Group Races and generally referred to as FFA's (Free for All).
Out of all the 'classic races' held annually, the English Derby - won 29/06/19 by Priceless Blake trained in Ireland by Paul Hennessy - (Nottingham) originally staged in 1927 at the White City Stadium, London, still remains today the most important competition. Due this year to the outbreak of Covid-19 and the economic effects of currently 'racing behind closed doors' The 2020 Derby sponsored by Star*Sports / Arena Racing Company (ARC) has been rescheduled for October with a now limited entry of 96 runners and carries a much reduced winner's prize of £50,000.
Other 'national derbies' include the Scottish Derby (Not Run in 2020) - won 04/05/19 by Braveheart Bobby trained by Pat Buckley IRE - (Shawfield) first held at Carntyne, Glasgow in 1928. Famous Scottish races include the St Mungo Cup and the Edinburgh Cup previously staged at Powderhall Stadium. The Welsh Derby run from 1928 - 1937 at the White City, Cardiff and then from 1945 - 1977 at the old Cardiff Arms Park sadly no longer takes place. The Trigo Cup known as Ulster Derby, first held at Celtic Park, Belfast in 1929 was reinaugerated in 2010 as the Northern Irish Derby - (Drumbo Park).
Along with the derby, the English Oaks - won 14/12/19 by Bull Run Byte trained at Monmore by Kevin Hutton - (Swindon) a race confined to bitches first run in 1927 at the White City, London are the two oldest classics. Although last years race only carried a winner's prize of £15,000.
The Greyhound St Leger run from 1928-1998 at the old Wembley Stadium is the oldest 'stayers classic' - won 16/11/19 by Redzer Ardfert trained in Ireland by Brendan Maunsell - (Perry Barr). The RPGTV 2020 St Leger held in November will also carry a reduced first prize of £10,000.
Other famous races include: All England Cup and Laurels - (Newcastle), Arc and Produce Stakes - (Swindon), Golden Jacket, Gold Collar and Kent St Leger - (Crayford), Golden Sprint, Champion Stakes and Essex Vase - (Romford), Scurry Cup - (Belle Vue), Regency, Sussex Cup, Olympic and Winter Derby - (Brighton & Hove), Kent Derby - (Central Park), Gold Cup - (Harlow), Henlow Derby - (Henlow), Golden Crest - (Poole), Gold Cup and Summer Stayers - (Monmore Green), Lowther Stakes, Eclipse & British Breeders Stakes - (Nottingham), Steel City Cup and British Bred Derby - (Sheffield), Yorkshire St Leger - (Doncaster), Classic and Grand Prix - (Sunderland), George Ing St Leger and East Anglian Derby - (Yarmouth) etc.
Famous long-distance races include the Dorando Marathon - won 29/06/19 by Micks Little Gem trained at Henlow by Michelle Brown - (Nottingham), Television Trophy - won 13/09/19 by Bumblebee Bullet - (Romford) and Boxing Day Marathon - won 26/12/19 by Micks Little Gem - (Crayford).
Puppy races include: English Puppy Derby - (Henlow), Puppy Cup - (Romford), Northern Puppy Plate - (Newcastle), Sussex Puppy Trophy - (Hove), Puppy Derby (Peterborough), Puppy Stakes - (Sheffield), Puppy Classic - (Nottingham), Puppy Derby and Trafalgar Cup - (Monmore Green) etc.
The 2019 Trainers' Title was won for a record eleventh time by Mark Wallis attached to Henlow and based at the 'Imperial Kennels' Lakenheath, Suffolk.
Only the top six handlers qualify for the Trainers' Championship (TC) "finals night" held last year 06/04/19 at Sheffield and won by Angela Harrison. Selected winners included: Gain GTA Sprint 280m - Lost One Dare (Kevin Hutton), Puppy 480m - Chicago Fire (Kevin Hutton), Bitches 480m - Seaglass Celine (Patrick Janssens), Standard 480 - Droopys Trapper (Angela Harrison), Standard Division (A) 500m - Droopys Verve (A Harrison), Standard (B) 500m - Droopys Expert (A Harrison), Stayers (A) 660m - Ridgedale Max (Phil Simmonds) and Stayers (B) 660m - Antigua Fire (Mark Wallis).
Other Invitational races (IV) include the 2020 Racing Post Juvenile - (Sheffield), Derby Invitation, The Select Stakes and Select Stayers - (Nottingham), East Anglian Derby Invitation - (Yarmouth) and the odd Showdown - 'swan vesta' Match Racing (M) limited to only two dogs.
Famous races include the Brighton Belle - (Hove), Coronation Cup and Rose Bowl - (Romford), British Bred St Leger and Silver Salver - (Central Park), Kent Cesarewitch - (Crayford), Super Paws - (Poole), Fengate Collar and Peterborough Derby - (Peterborough), Northern Flat Championship and Cock O'The North - (Belle Vue), Yorkshire Oaks - (Sheffield), Angel Of The North Oaks and Great North Run - (Newcastle) etc.
Minor Open Races include all "one offs" with a minimum of £100 to the winner. Maiden Opens are limited to greyhounds yet to win an Open Race.
As from 31st March 2014 the Irish Greyhound Board (IGB) has implemented new race grading bands. For 525 yard races all dogs recording a time less then 28.49 secs will be classed as AAO, 28.50s - 28.69s = AO, 28.70s - 28.89 = A1, 28.90s - 29.19s = A2 up to and including 30.50s - 30.70s = A10. Please See IGB RACE GRADE BANDS for further information.
The Boylesports Irish Derby - won 19/09/20 by Newinn Taylor trained by Graham Holland - (Shelbourne Park) first run in 1932 is the most prestigious event in the racing calendar and carried this year a slightly reduced winner's purse of €115,000. Although, originally preceded by the 'National Derby' first held in 1928 at Harolds Cross.
Famous races include the Easter Cup first staged in 1928, Irish Oaks held at Clonmel in 1932, Champion Stakes & Gold Cup - (Shelbourne Park - SPK). The St Leger first run at Celtic Park, Belfast in 1932 - (Limerick - LMK), Laurels - (Cork - CRK), Produce Stakes - (Clonmel - CML), Irish Sprint Cup - (Dundalk - DLK), Longford Derby - Longford (LGF - Closed), Newbridge Oaks - (Newbridge - NWB), Cesarewitch - (Mullingar - MGR), Race Of Champions - (Tralee - TRL), Select Stakes and Munster Oaks - (Waterford - WFD) etc.
Invitational races include The Dundalk International - won 12/07/19 by Killmacdonagh trained by Kieran Lynch - (Dundalk). There are also Irish-Anglo and Irish-American challenges - (Shelbourne Park). Throughout the year 'festivals of racing' take place at Clonmel, Galway, Lifford, Limerick etc.
Shelbourne Park hosted their 8th annual "Night Of Stars" special gala race meeting (30/11/19) with eight races carrying a winner's cheque of €10,000 and included the following category winners: Open 350 - Rosbirr Ranger (Chris Delaney), Open 525 Bitches - Sliabh Liag (Karol Ramsbottom), Open 525 Dogs - Boylesports Xtra (Paul Hennessy), Open 550 - Lenson Bocko (Graham Holland), Open 575 - Ballymac Cooper (Liam Dowling), Open 600 - Lemon Ozzy (Robert Gleeson), Open 750 - Redzer Ardfert (Brendan Maunsell) and Open 850 - Maireads Pearl (Frasor Black).
In Ireland puppies begin their racing careers in Novice grade (N0 - N3) although, some may also compete in open competitions for greyhounds unraced! The most valuable being the Connolly's Red Mills Unraced - (Curraheen Park) with a winner's cheque of €16,000! Although, the Con & Annie Kirby Memorial - won 20/04/19 by Toolmaker Josie trained by Robert Gleeson - (Limerick) with a first prize of €80,000 remains the world's richest puppy race!
The very fastest greyhounds average speeds around a circuit close to 40 mph / 64.37 kph! Although 'top speeds' may only be achievable on first class 'galloping tracks' with big circumferences, long racing straights and wide sweeping cambered bends!
The quickest time run over 515 metres is 28.88 secs set 25/01/01 by Australian "wonder dog" Brett Lee trained by Darren McDonald from Peacedale, Victoria in Adelaide Cup held at Angle Park, South Australia (circumference 457 metres) and represents an average speed of 39.89 mph / 64.20 kph!
Interestingly, the fastest UK time for 515 metres is 29.20 secs set 31/07/07 by "brilliant Barney" Barnfield On Air trained by Sam Poots (Retired) in the Sussex Cup run at Brighton & Hove greyhound stadium (circumference 455 metres) representing an average cruising speed of 39.45 mph / 63.49 kph. The best time achieved by a bitch is 29.54 secs set by Bridge Ruth trained by Mark Wallis (38.99 mph / 62.76 kph) when winning 2013 Brighton Belle. Although this time was equalled 31/08/17 by "2018 bitch of the year" Donation trained by Heather Dimmock in a heat of the 500 Ladies.
The 2019 English Greyhound Derby held at Nottingham over 500m (circumference 437m) was 25/05/19 set alight by Skywalker Logan trained in Ireland by Pat Guilfoyle after breaking Sawpit Sensation's previous record by eleven spots when recording 29.05 secs (38.45 mph/61.96 kph) in 1st round heat. The fastest time achieved by a bitch was 29.27 secs (38.21 mph / 61.50 kph) set in 1st round by Queen Beyonce trained by Rab & Liz McNair at CPark. Although, Ballymac Tas trained by Liam Dowling (IRE) became the first bitch since Dilemmas Flight in 2007 to reach the final, finishing runner-up!
The English Derby record for 500 metres is 28.72 secs set 09/06/17 by Tyrur Shay trained in Ireland by P J Fahy in 2nd round heat held at Towcester (circumference 420 metres) and represents an average speed of 38.89 mph / 62.59 kph.
The old Derby record for 480 metres - Wimbledon (circumference 414 metres) was broken 30/05/15 by Eden The Kid "2015 British Bred of the Year" trained by Elizabeth & Rab McNair when posting 27.95 secs (38.42mph / 61.83 kph) in 1st round.
The English 480 metres record was recently broken 15/09/20 by Roxholme Kristof locally trained by Hayley Keightley when posting 27.27 secs in the Gain Nutrition 3 Steps To Victory 1st round heat held at Owlerton Stadium, Sheffield (circumference 425 metres) averaging 39.38mph / 63.37 kph.
The Scottish Derby 480 metres record was lowered again by Droopys Buick trained by Angela Harrison & Jimmy Wright when recording 28.55 seconds in the semi-final ran 22/04/17 at Shawfield (circumference 432m). Although surprisingly the average speed is only 37.61 mph / 60.52 kph!
The Irish Derby record for 550 yards (503 metres) - Shelbourne Park (circumference 425 yards) was recently broken 22/08/20 by Pestana trained by Owen McKenna (IRE) when posting 28.99 secs in the 2020 Boylesport Derby 2nd round (38.81 mph / 62.46 kph) not only breaking the former track record of 29.10 secs held previously by Tyrur Van Gaal but also beating the Irish National 550 yard distance record of 29.07 secs set previously at Cork by Killmacdonagh and becomes the first ever greyhound in history to dip under 29.00 secs for the derby trip! The fastest time recorded around this circuit by a bitch is 29.12 secs set 21/07/19 by Ballymac Arminta trained by Liam Dowling (IRE) in the semi-final of the 2019 Boylesports Champion Stakes. The 2018 Derby winner Ballyanne Sim trained by James Robinson recorded 29.28 secs and is the quickest ever time run in an Irish Derby final!
The fastest run in Ireland over 525 yards was sensationally achieved by Paradise Madison trained in County Meath by Oliver Bray when stopping the clock at 27.67 seconds in the first semi-final of the Comerford Cakes National Puppy Stake held 08/12/12 at Shelbourne Park (38.81 mph / 62.46 kph). The fastest time by a bitch is 27.70 secs set 25/05/19 by Ballymac Arminta (Liam Dowling) (38.77 mph / 62.39 kph) in 2019 Sporting Press Irish Oaks!
The 525 yards record was once held by Catunda Harry trained by Owen McKenna, who became the first greyhound to break 28 seconds on an Irish track, when recording 27.99 secs in a heat of the Ballygodoon Stud Puppy Stakes run 17/06/07 at the old "Market Fields" track at Limerick.
The Northern Irish 525 record is 27.88s (38.52 mph / 61.99 kph) set by Leeveiw Jet (G Holland) in the Tennants Gold Cup - (Drumbo Park - DBP).
In Australia at Capabala in Brisbane, Upper Class Lad trained by John Catton (Mount Cotton) running in the Michael Miller Memorial Cup (03/10/15) over a straight grass track recorded 19.28 secs for 366m / 400y - averaging 42.46 mph / 68.34 kph and is claimed to be a WORLD RECORD SPEED! Although, speed tests conducted by Towcester Racecourse using a hi-tech transponder system taken from dogs competing in the 2017 English Derby, interestingly revealed split-second acceleration speeds approaching 50 mph / 80.47 kph!
Other standard race grading prefixes that indicate to the type of race include: (H) = Hurdle and (CH) = Chase - two extra hurdles are added.
The first English race over hurdles took place at Belle Vue, Manchester at its opening meeting on the 24th July 1926 - won by Melksham Autocrat.
The two most prestigious races are the English Grand National - won 28/04/19 by Caislean Fifi trained at Hove by Seamus Cahill - (Central Park) first run at the White City, London, and the Irish Grand National - won 09/12/19 by Lightfoot Kante trained by Pat Kiely - (Cork) both inaugerated in 1928.
UK Category One hurdle races include the Springbok - won 01/03/20 by Burgess Doc trained at Monmore by Lee Field and Champion Hurdle - won 21/07/19 by Turnhouse Jet trained locally by Ricky Holloway - (Central Park) is the oldest of the Hurdle Classics first run at White City, London in 1927. All major hurdle races in 2020 will be staged at 'Central Park' with promoter Roger Cearns putting up a bonus £10,000 for any dog winning all three!
Cornamaddy Jumbo trained by Mark Wallis was voted "2014 Hurdler and Greyhound of the Year" when becoming the first dog to ever complete the 'English triple crown' by winning all three Category One's - the Springbok, Grand National and Champion Hurdle in the same year!
Other hurdle events include the Jimmy Jupp National Hurdle - (Hove), Kent County Hurdle and Boxing Day Chase - (Central Park), Chief Ramsbottom Hurdle, Dual Distance Hurdle and Kent National Hurdle - (Crayford), Champions Night Hurdle and Roger Kent Barton Triumph Hurdle - (Romford), Rockybay Munster Hurdle - (Curraheen Park) etc.
Occasionally a dog will be given a 'hurdle handslip' and released not from the traps, but 'hand slipped' usually along the straights in order to gradually introduce them to jumping hurdles. Please note: any runner having competed in a hurdle race or schooling trial and was subsequently switched back to race on the flat, is always considered a good sign! as the hurdles tend to concentrate a dog's mind on its racing and therefore sharpens them up!
The vast majority of dog races around the world are known as 'Graded Races' (GR's). Middle-Distance grades include:
U.K. - Top Grade - (A1 - A3) equilavent to American greyhound grades (A, B) and Australian grades (1, 2). Some of these 'top graders' may also compete in major open race events and can average speeds around a track between 38-39 mph.
U.K. - Middle Grade - (A4 - A6) equilavent to American grades (C, D) and Australian grades (3, 3/4, 4). Occasionally 'graded runners' competing at the best "city tracks" maybe the equal of 'A1' dogs running at lesser not so good "country tracks". These hounds average speeds between 37-38 mph.
U.K. - Low Grade - (A7 - A11) equilavent to American grades (E, F and Maidens) and Aussie grades (4/5, 5 and Maidens). Most greyhounds will start or finish their racing careers in the lower grades and generally record speeds between 35-37 mph.
U.K. - B Grade (B1 - B6) This grade prefix indicates either a slightly shorter or slightly longer standard distance.
Knowing the grade is very important, as it's an approximation to the expected level of performance and therefore indicates to the overall race standard. Generally, I consider a greyhound's grade should reflect past performances and be relative to previously recorded racetimes!
When fully fit 'Graders' tend to run more frequently than 'Open Racers' and usually compete in a race once a week, although twice and sometimes three times is not uncommon. However, any dogs thought 'over raced' will often see a decline in racing form and may need a rest to freshen them up!
The GBGB recently announced that These Old Shades trained at Sheffield by Barrie Draper was voted "2019 Grader Of The Year" after winning 16 races from grade A5 to A3 and handicap races over 500 and 660 metres.
The Greyhound Welfare Graded Derby previously held at Towcester 02/09/17 with a winner's purse of £10,000 was the richest graded race in England. In Ireland the most valuable is the Lee Strand 550 (A3) held 18/05/19 at Tralee with a first prize of €8,500.
Puppy and Veterans are represented by a standard prefix: (P) = Puppy (V) = Veteran. Famous races include the Senior's Derby - (Peterborough).
Other types of racing grades that may take place during a meeting include: (KC) = Kennel Championships, (KS) = Kennel Sweepstakes, (IT) = Intertrack Racing, (Hcp) = Handicap Racing and the extremely rare (QS) = Quickstakes - 2 or 3 semi-finals take place with the final held at the same meeting.
All 'Punters' when studying graded-raceform will always face the dilemma of not knowing whether to back a good dog 'lowered in class' running badly or a not so good dog 'raised in class' running well? "If only I had a crystal ball" I hear you say!!
Successfully predicting Graded Races (GR's) will invariably be more challenging than forecasting Open Races (OR), as the 'grader' generally grades the races very closely with only minute differences in time to choose between the runners.
Therefore, to obtain the best results from the 'Predictor' I suggest choosing UK OR's, Irish AAO's, American SA's or Australian FFA's, as the runners in these top geyhound grades are not only more consistent, but also allow "canine superstars" to compete with much greater differences in racing ability. This is most noticeable during the early rounds of major competitions and theoretically makes the 'open grade' more predictable than a graded race. Although, these differences in the dog's standards will always no doubt be reflected in the individual prices quoted as the odds of a greyhound race!
For all 'Greyhound Predictors' wishing to simulate dogs 'raised or lowered' in grade, then one of the best ways to represent a change in race-grade would be to alter a dog's time! For example, if you consider a grey to be 'upped in class' then you should perhaps add on between 0.10 - 0.20 seconds to their fastest time, as up-graded dogs theoretically are less likely to obtain a trouble free run in a race in order to produce their very quickest times. Although, often to the contrary, certain strong 'improving greyhounds' may actually appreciate a quicker overall travelling speed throughout a race and will be towed along in the 'faster slipstreams' of other initially speedier dogs and despite being 'raised in class' will continue to improve their best times. For further information please see Racetimes.
Alternatively, if you wanted to simulate down-graded dogs then you should perhaps deduct between 0.10 - 0.20 seconds from their fastest time, as all dogs 'lowered in class' theoretically, have a better chance of being afforded more 'racing room' in a lower grade to perhaps improve their quickest times, and indeed yes, you may deduct an appropriate amount of time that best simulates greyhounds dropped in grade.
I should also like to mention in the interests of 'The Science of Greyhound Race Prediction' that since the dogs themselves remain completely unaware of the racing grade their running in or have previously competed at, then you may wish to leave a dog's fastest time as it is, the choice is always yours!
Now check the formlines, the stat grade of race is found at the top of each race heading.
Now select the correct grade category and Press Spacebar to enter.
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