Types of Greyhound Racing: What the Letters and Numbers Mean
An essential part of a night at greyhound racing is being able to interpret the race card as it contains a lot of information about each race. Therefore, it is important to understand what the letters and numbers at the top of each race on the card mean, as it tells you what grade of the race it is, how far you need to go, the type of dogs running, and more. . Here’s a quick overview of what the different types of greyhound racing are and how to identify them on your race card.
The breed type (or grade) is usually the first thing you see at the top left of the card. In most cases, this will be the scheduled time for the start of the race. This is followed by a letter (to indicate the degree of the run) and a number (which represents the distance of the run in meters). So as a quick example, if you see something like 19:30 A5 500, that means the race should start at half past seven, it is an A5 grade and the distance to be covered is 500 meters. But there are other degrees and distances involved that we will cover below.
O means open race. As the name suggests, it is open to all dogs and therefore attracts greyhounds with a higher level of skill. Sometimes there are additional race conditions like age, maidens (don’t win a race). The best greyhounds will often travel to tracks far from where they normally compete, as the prize money involved may be worth the trip.
We are now in graduate careers, which make up the competition at most meetings. The number immediately to the left of the letter is the grade. The higher the number, the better the dog. For example, an A2 race is rated better than an A6. Greyhounds that run in graded races are based on their most recent times, so in theory they at least have the same or very similar ability.
D means it is a sprint race. Generally, a distance of between 250 and 300 meters is covered that covers two curves of the track.
A is the majority grade. Most of the qualifying races are grade A. The distance of the races is usually 450 to 500 meters or approximately around the lap of the track plus a taxi to the first corner.
S means it is a race for “stayers”, in other words, for greyhounds capable of running longer distances. These types of races usually have a distance of 600 meters and more and take place in six curves of the track or around a lap and a half.
P means that the race is restricted to young greyhounds (puppies) no more than two years old. The distance can vary from race to race, so look at the number next to the P so you are aware of the race distance.
From time to time you may see HCP or just H. HCP means it is a handicap race with the starting positions of the dogs staggered according to their ability. The best dogs give the poorer dogs a start based on recent performance and ability. H means it is an obstacle course where the dogs have to jump at least three obstacles.