An essential part of a night at the greyhound races is being able to interpret the race card as it contains a lot of information about each race. So it’s important to understand what the letters and numbers at the top of each breed on the card mean, as it tells you the breed grade, distance to run, type of dogs running, and more. Here is a quick overview of what the different types of greyhound breeds are and how to identify them on your breed card.
The type (or grade) of career is usually the first thing you see in the top left of the card. In most cases, this will be the time the race should start. This is followed by a letter (to indicate the grade of the race) and a number (representing the distance of the race in meters). So as a quick example, if you see something like 19:30 A5 500, that means the race starts at half past seven, it’s an A5 grade and the distance to be covered is 500 metres. But there are other degrees and distances involved which we will cover below.
OR means open run. As the name suggests, it is open to all dogs and therefore attracts greyhounds with a higher skill level. Sometimes there are additional race conditions like age, maidens (didn’t win a race). The best greyhounds will often travel to tracks far from where they normally race, as the prize money involved may be worth the trip.
We are now in the graded races, which are the norm at most meetings. The number immediately to the left of the letter is the degree. The higher the number, the better the dog. For example, an A2 race is better rated than an A6. Greyhounds running in classified breeds are based on their most recent times, so in theory at least they have the same or very similar abilities.
D means it’s a sprint race. This is usually run over a distance of between 250 and 300 meters spanning two turns of the track.
A is the majority note. Most of the graded races are grade A. The distance of the races is usually between 450 and 500 meters or about one lap of the track plus one run to the first corner.
S means that it is a breed for “permanent”, in other words for greyhounds capable of running longer distances. These types of races usually have a distance of 600 meters or more and are held in six curves of the track or around one and a half laps.
P means the breed is restricted to young greyhounds (puppies) no older than two years. The distance can vary from race to race, so keep an eye on the number next to the P so you know the distance of the race.
Occasionally you may see HCP or just H. HCP means it is a handicapped breed with the starting positions of the dogs staggered according to their ability. The better dogs give the poorer dogs a head start based on recent performance and ability. H means that it is an obstacle course in which the dogs must jump at least three obstacles.