Greyhound racing has been one of the most popular sports to bet in the UK for a number of years now. In fact, it rivals that of horse racing in terms of the coverage the sport gets. These days the sport isn’t as popular as once was, but it still pulls in a large number of punters to bet on races from around the world.
Just a couple of minutes on any of the larger bookmakers will show you just how popular it is, with a number of them ranking it as one of their biggest sports. Even thought the reported popularity of greyhound has diminished, its been the bookmakers who have been a part of the figure heads to revive the sport for their punters. It’s not uncommon to see bookmaker sponsoring races and there are some which actually sponsor the whole race track.
What we’ve found is that greyhound racing to bookmakers seems to be a bit more of a condensed version of horse racing. Everything from coverage, betting markets, promotions, stats and even live streaming is good, but not quite up to that of horse racing.
Best Greyhound Racing Betting Sites
#1 – Coral
Coral are a great choice for betting on greyhound racing due to their overall coverage. The homepage sometimes includes quick links and previews to their more prestigious races whilst clicking on the greyhound section will give you a much more detailed overview.
Once in, the first section you will come across is their ‘upcoming races’ section and this points you in the direction of the next couple of races that are taking place. It will also make you aware if these races are available on their live streaming channel, of which a lot of the higher profile meetings are covered in good detail. Once you delve further into the race cards of the smaller races then you will be able to see which are featured for live streaming.
As with a lot of Coral’s sports, they include a number of interesting sections that you can check out including easy picks, futures, specials, results and even virtual. We loved the fact that you could build your won racecard if you wanted to including the races from across the board that you were looking to bet on. Not enough bookmakers include this feature and it’s something we found particularly impressive.
As a final point with Coral, we just wanted to point out that they a number of money back specials throughout the year. A one they have been running for a while now is the money back if your dog loses by a length or less on Sky Sports live races.
#2 – ToteSport
ToteSport are better known for their affiliation with horse racing, but their sports betting section does include a really solid greyhound section as well. The initial HUB allows you to see all the races that are taking place that day and then choose from races taking place at a later date. We found the addition of being able to build a custom racecard a really nice feature and also the fact this was linked into any results from the same day appositive.
The racecard’s themselves were probably the highlight of the site. Straight away you can see a bright, colorful card that include name of the dogs running and also the current and starting price. You can select between forecast or tricast bets if you wish and then select between straight, banker and combination bets.
It’s one of very few bookmakers that actually have teamed up with an out side source in the Racing Post to bring you a preview of the race and also each dog. This is something that a lot of bookmakers do for horse racing, but it’s actually quite rare in greyhound racing. There’s also the option of live commentary but this is linked with ToteSport’s racing radio channel so not every race is featured on this.
The site has come up trumps with their betting section and they are a great alternative to the more mainstream bookies.
#3 – BetVictor
It’s often clear pretty quickly as to how much of a regard bookmaker hold greyhound racing in when you enter the homepage and see if there is any immediate coverage. BetVictor don’t actually have this (for the most part) and the sport isn’t even listed under their ‘top sports’ coupon.
Similarly to Coral, we liked the fact you could choose the races you wanted to bet on to make a custom racecard, but unlike Coral we found the number of meeting covered to be pretty small.
The racecard is very simple and to be honest, apart from actually seeing the price of the dog you want to bet on, leaves a lot to be desired. Whereas with the two bookmakers listed above you could check out all sorts of information, BetVictor have decided to go down the simplistic route, which isn’t necessarily a good thing in this case. If you cant get access to the other two bookmakers, then BetVictor is a reasonable choice, but they won’t be winning any awards any time soon for innovation.
#4 – Betfred
Betfred are one of the reasons why greyhound racing is still going strong today. They actually sponsor quite a large range of events up and down the country and the make the prize money worth winning. It’s companies like Betfred who keep the sport fresh and whilst there is prize money on offer, the sport will continue to flourish.
However, their betting site isn’t the most comprehensive when it comes to betting on greyhound racing. The basics are there and the site includes a number of meetings from around the world. It lacks somewhat in terms of additional features and there is little to really choose from after simply being able to place your own bets.
The race card includes the name of the dog you are looking to bet on and then the price. We liked that they included the forecast/tricast market as well, which made things seem to run a lot smoother than we initially thought.
How to Bet on Greyhound Racing
Greyhound racing has always lived in the shadow of horse racing somewhat and to be honest, it likely always will. But that doesn’t mean to say that there is not enough action to get teeth stuck into, in fact far from it. There are literally races every day of the week, although the quality of these races will vary somewhat.
One thing that reviewing the bookmakers we have to find the best bookmakers for greyhound racing was just how limited the information is on there for the casual bettor. For example, football and horse racing will generally have huge statistics sections and form guides to help you select which bets might be most valuable. On top of that some even get ex-professionals to blog about bets and just generally give the sports a boatload of coverage meaning punters need not look elsewhere for their research.
Greyhound raving works a little differently to all that, in that you need to put the work in to get the results you are after. There are however, plenty of resources online to get betting tips and race information. In fact, if you already bet on horse racing and use something like the Racing Post, then these guys are about as good as you are going to find.
One of the downsides to betting on greyhounds is that the number of betting markets on offer are severely limited, especially in comparison to the likes of football or even horse racing for that matter. Whilst this undoubtedly has its drawbacks, there are positives to it meaning you can concentrate on just a few markets to find value. Sometimes even we will admit having over 100 markets to bet on for each football match can get slightly overwhelming.
The main and most obvious market is that of betting on the outright winner. It’s very simple in that you simply back the dog that you think will win. If your dog finishes anywhere but first, then you lose. A link to this market is each way betting. This splits your bet into two and you have half of your stake on the win and the over half on the dog to place at a fraction of the starting odds. It’s pretty common to see that most bookmakers will pay out first and second as places at ¼ the odds.
Forecast betting is something has had a bit of a revival within the industry and it’s now a pretty common betting market for most bookmakers. This requires you to pick the dog, which you think will finish first and then the dog that you think will finish second. As an extension to this you can bet on a tricast that means you need to correctly select 1st, 2nd and 3rd to win.
Some bookmakers include a banker bet that means you select the dog you think will finish first and then any dog to finish second. The combination bet allows you to select two dogs to finish either first or second without specifying a position for each.
Greyhound Racing Betting Rules
As with any sport, there are a number of rules in which you need familiarise yourself with when it comes to greyhound racing. One thing we will say is that each bookmaker will likely differ in the rules that are set out. It’s for this reason why if you have a query we recommend contacting the bookmaker directly and simply use the rules below as a general guide.
Betting on the Trap
The first thing to consider is that for the majority of bets you are betting on the trap, rather than the dog. This means that whatever dog is represented in that trap will be your bet. If the dog is replaced at the last minute then your bet will carry over to that dog, unless you decide to void your bet and your money will be returned.
Rule 4 is something that also is used in greyhound racing along with horse racing. It’s been put in place to allow bookmakers to alter the odds should a dog be removed from that race at the last minute. If for example the 2/1 favorite withdraws then the next best dog, originally priced at 5/1, will then be cut, because it wont reflect on the rest of the field fairly. This is a mathematical science in that depending on what starting price the dog was, will mean in an exact cut to a predetermined betting price.
Registered v Independent Courses
One of the biggest things to remember about greyhound racing is that it is essentially split into two different types: registered racing and independent racing. The former is the only one that we’re interested in, given that it means that the race is registered with the Greyhound Board of Great Britain. This means that the racing is regulated and that the events have to take place in accordance with the GBGB Rules of Racing. Those involved in the races also have to listen to the stewards, who are responsible for ensuring the standards for the welfare of the greyhounds.
No Requirement for Independent Race to Follow Rules
Independent racing, meanwhile, has no such requirement to stick to the rules and regulations that have been put in place by the GBGB. These ‘flapping’ courses, of which there are three, are ones to avoid. There is limited knowledge about the number of people involved in independent greyhound racing because there is no need for them to register with a central database. Equally, there is no guarantee around the welfare of the dogs that take part in flapping races, which is why we discourage all from thinking about independent races.
Independent Racing Stadiums to Avoid
The independent stadiums are Askern Stadium in Doncaster, Thornton Stadium in the Scottish village of Thornton and Valley Stadium in Wales. These are the venues to steer clear of, should you be invited to attend any of them in order to watch some greyhound racing at one point or another. It is only right that you avoid such venues, given the lack of transparency about any number of aspects of the way that they operate. The most important thing in any sport involving animals is how they’re treated and there are just no certainties on that front at flapping courses.
How Many Registered Courses Are There?
Now that we know to avoid independent race tracks, the obvious question to ask would be about how many registered tracks we get to choose from when thinking about attending a greyhound meeting. The good news is that there is plenty of choice, with 20 active tracks offering racing at the time of writing. There are no active tracks in either Scotland or Wales, whilst Northern Irish tracks are not the responsibility of the Greyhound Board of Great Britain and so do not count as something that we will look at for this section.
Here is a list of the tracks that are currently operating, including the area that they’re based and the main races that take place there during each of the greyhound racing seasons:
|Race Track||Location||Main Races|
|Brighton & Hove Greyhound Stadium||Brighton & Hove||The Regency; Brighton Belle; Sussex Cup|
|Central Park Stadium||Sittingbourne||Grand National; Kent Derby; The Springbok|
|Crayford Stadium||London||Golden Jacket; Kent St. Leger; Crayford Vase|
|Doncaster Greyhound Stadium||Doncaster||Yorkshire St. Leger|
|Harlow Stadium||Harlow||None of Note|
|Henlow Stadium||Stondon||The Henlow Derby|
|Kinsley Greyhound Stadium||Kinsley||The Gymcrack|
|Monmore Green Stadium||Wolverhampton||Ladbrokes Gold Cup; Ladbrokes Puppy Derby; Trafalgar Cup|
|Newcastle Stadium||Newcastle-Upon-Tyne||Northern Flat; All-England Cup; Northern Puppy Derby|
|Nottingham Greyhound Stadium||Nottingham||Select Stakes; Puppy Classic; National Sprint|
|Oxford Stadium*||Oxford||None of Note|
|Owlerton Stadium||Sheffield||Steel City Cup; Northern Sprint; Ebor Stakes|
|Pelaw Grand Stadium||County Durham||None of Note|
|Perry Barr Stadium||Birmingham||St. Leger; Oaks; Birmingham Cup|
|Romford Greyhound Stadium||London||The Cesarewitch; Essex Vase; Champion Stakes|
|Mildenhall Stadium||Mildenhall||None Of Note|
|Sunderland Greyhound Stadium||Sunderland||Arena Racing Company Grand Prix; Arena Racing Company Classic|
|Swindon Stadium||Swindon||British Bred Produce Stakes|
|Towcester Greyhound Stadium||Towcester||English Greyhound Derby; Puppy Derby; The Oaks|
|Yarmouth Stadium||Caister-on-Sea||East Anglian Derby|
As you can see, there are numerous different courses that you can attend to watch greyhound races in in a properly regulated manner. The one of note is Oxford Stadium, which is due to open in 2022 and is looking to ensure that it is seen as a multi-purpose venue moving forward. What is interesting is that there are numerous different races that are standout ones and allow some lesser-known stadiums to keep their heads above water thanks to ticket prices and the likes. The East Anglian Derby at Yarmouth Stadium is an excellent example of this.
The Greyhound Derby
When it comes to greyhound racing, there is no event that is bigger than the Greyhound Derby. When it was first run at White City Stadium in 1927, the participants qualified thanks to regional heats. Run over 500 yards, the first ever outing of the race was run by Entry Badge by a distance of six lengths. It was run over a longer distance the following year, then the 1929 and 1930 races were both won by the same dog: Mick The Miller. The race was then suspended in 1941 because of the Second World War.
When it resumed after the end of the war, it began a period of general stability for greyhound racing. Indeed, the next thing of particular note to happen in the Greyhound Derby was the back-to-back wins for Patricias Hope in 1972 and 1973, which was just the second time that a dog had won successive races. Not only that, but Patricias Hope won the Scottish Greyhound Derby and Welsh Greyhound Derby in 1973, marking the first time that the Triple Crown had been achieved by him, creating newspaper headlines.
Moves from White City to Wimbledon
The final Greyhound Derby took place at White City Stadium in the June of 1984, with the race moving to Wimbledon Stadium the following year. White City boasted a grass surface, but there was a sand one at Wimbledon. When Pagan Swallow crossed the finish-line in first place, it signalled the fact that both Phillip Rees Junior and Phillip Rees Senoir has trained the winner of the race at some point in its history; a unique claim if ever there was one. Even so, the sport was facing a decline in interest and the Derby suffered as a result.
Changes Hands Between Towcester & Nottingham
Perhaps the biggest change to the Greyhound Derby in recent years came in 2016, when it took place at Wimbledon Stadium for the final time before the track’s closure. In 2017, the race was run at Towcester Racecourse, which had only opened three years prior. Not long after it hosted the Derby in 2018, Towcester was put into administration and the future of both the course and its races was put into doubt. The race was moved to Nottingham Greyhound Stadium in 2019 before being shifted back to Towcester two years later.
At the time of writing, just four dogs have won the race twice. Mick The Miller was the first to do it, with Patricias Hope the next on the list. Since then, Rapid Ranger has achieved the feat and Westmead Hawk is the most recent to pull it off, winning the event in 2005 and 2006. Interestingly, the 2007 winner was Westmead Lord. As a slight aside, the dogs that have won the race twice have done so in alphabetical order up to this point in proceedings.
Run over 500 metres on a sand surface, no trainer has seen their dogs win the Greyhound Derby more regularly than Charlie Lister. Lister enjoyed seven wins between 1997 and 2013, which no doubt contributed to him being named the Trainer of the Year four times. He retired from the sport in September of 2018, seven years after he was given an Order of the British Empire for his services to greyhound racing. Whilst you should never say never, it is extremely unlikely that anyone will ever take over his record number of wins in the Greyhound Derby.
Other Big Greyhound Events
Whilst the Greyhound Derby is undoubtedly the biggest race in the sport, there are numerous other top-level greyhound events that are worthy of a mention. Not many people are aware that greyhound races can take place over hurdles, for example, but the Grand National does just that. Run over 480 metres, the dogs need to cope with hurdles at Central Park Stadium in much the same way that the horses do in the race of the same name.
As with so many events in the sport, it was run for the first time in the 1920s and has maintained its proud history since. The races in the sport that aren’t the Greyhound Derby are split into one of six categories, which are as follows:
- Category One
- Category Two
- Category Three
- Invitation Race
- Minor Open Race
- Graded Race
Category One racing requires prize money of at least £12,500, whilst that drops to £5,000 for Category Two events. A Category Three race needs to have prize money of £1,000 or more, but Invitation Races are a special type of greyhound race that is often staged by a promotor on the night of other races. The minimum prize money here is £750, which is £600 more than any other type of open race that comes under the Minor Open category. Any other type of race is known as Graded Racing and is the core type of race run at most stadiums.
In terms of specific races, the world of greyhound racing mirrors that of horse racing in numerous different ways. Events like the St. Leger and the Oaks are named in the same manner as the Classic horse races. Events, such as the Golden Jacket and the East Anglian Cup, are where things start to differ, but regardless of the name, the idea behind the race remains the same: the fastest dog will win. From the Select Stakes to any number of Derbies in Scotland and Ireland, greyhounds have plenty of races to be entered into.
Jacket Colours & Traps
The final thing that is worth mentioning when it comes to greyhound racing is the use of traps and the associated colours of the jerseys worn by the dogs. This is because greyhound racing in the United Kingdom uses a standard colour scheme, so the dogs will wear the same colour associated with their trap regardless of the location for the race. Typically speaking, there are six traps that are used on a course and the dogs are loaded into them before the race gets underway.
Here are the trap numbers and associated colours:
- Trap 1 = Red with White Number
- Trap 2 = Blue with White Number
- Trap 3 = White with Black Number
- Trap 4 = Black with White Number
- Trap 5 = Orange with Black Number
- Trap 6 = Black & White Stripes with Red Number
It is now extremely unusual for a racecourse to use traps 7 and 8, but when they were in use trap 7 had a green jacket with a red number and trap 8 was yellow and black with a white number. If the dog is one of the reserves then its jacket will have the letter R on both sides.
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