How Often Does The Favourite Win In Greyhound Racing?

grehound face on dark backgroundWhilst the likes of horse racing and football will always be amongst the most popular sports to bet on in the United Kingdom, greyhound racing isn’t far behind. It is entirely reasonable to point out that going to the dogs isn’t anywhere near as popular as it was at its height, punters still enjoy placing a wager on greyhound races, either in-person or online. Indeed, the very popularity of the sport is what allows the Bookmakers' Afternoon Greyhound Service to exist, giving people even more races to bet on than ever before.

Being able to place a bet on the greyhounds isn’t the same as being able to win a bet on the greyhounds, though. Obviously there is no hard and fast way to consistently win greyhound races, otherwise we’d all be doing it. One thing we can do, however, is to look at the number of times that the favourite ends up running out as the race winner. This will let us know whether or not we should be putting our money on the dogs that the bookies thing have got the best chance, or whether we should be looking further afield.

What The Stats Say

greyhounds racing at speedd

It is not an easy thing, to work out how many times the most favoured dog has been able to win the race that they’re taking part in. Thankfully, there are plenty of statistics out there that can help us to understand not only how often the favourite wins in greyhound races but also whether or not specific traps tend to favour the favourites at given courses. We’re getting ahead of ourselves a little to talk about that, as to begin with we just want to have a look at the raw data to see how often the favourite at a greyhound venue wins.

In 2021, there were 18 greyhound stadiums in operation in the United Kingdom. Some of them, such as Crayford and Monmore, saw more races taking place at them than others. Even so, it is certainly the case that there was enough information available for us to look at the success of the favourites and come up with an answer to the question about how often they win. Here’s a look at the information from the 18 courses, looking at how many favourites ran, how often they won and what percentage of winners were the favourite:

CourseNumber Of FavouritesNumber Of Wins For Favourite% Of Wins By Favourite
Central Park 2650 955 36.00%
Crayford 3227 1048 32.40%
Doncaster 2231 754 33.70%
Harlow 2715 756 27.80%
Henlow 2769 990 35.70%
Hove 2941 985 33.40%
Kinsley 1669 488 29.20%
Monmore 3294 1062 32.20%
Newcastle 2601 840 32.20%
Nottingham 1856 645 34.70%
Pelaw Grange 464 150 32.30%
Perry Barr 1970 663 33.60%
Romford 2954 947 32.00%
Sheffield 2489 935 37.50%
Sunderland 2110 726 34.40%
Swindon 2378 772 32.40%
Towcester 1616 549 33.90%
Yarmouth 1387 483 34.80%

You can see that the average number of wins for favourites is in the 30% bracket, with 13,748 favourites winning from the 41,321races with favourites that took place across all 18 stadiums. That works out as 33.27% of all favourites winning their race in 2021. The question is, does that remain a solid percentage if you look at a few other years?

Here’s the information for 2020 as a comparison, bearing in mind that there were 22 tracks open that year:

CourseNumber Of FavouritesNumber Of Wins For Favourite% Of Wins By Favourite
Belle Vue 400 155 38.70%
Central Park 2260 769 34.00%
Crayford 2426 778 32.00%
Doncaster 1797 577 32.10%
Harlow 1946 541 27.80%
Henlow 2895 967 33.40%
Hove 2259 744 32.90%
Kinsley 1475 444 30.10%
Monmore 2686 873 32.50%
Newcastle 2287 760 33.20%
Nottingham 1691 589 34.80%
Pelaw Grange 566 176 31.00%
Perry Barr 1808 578 31.90%
Peterborough 342 123 35.90%
Poole 341 143 41.90%
Romford 2432 839 34.40%
Shawfield 85 33 38.80%
Sheffield 2045 744 36.30%
Sunderland 1956 657 33.50%
Swindon 1740 564 32.40%
Towcester 357 107 29.90%
Yarmouth 1207 383 31.70%

Across the 35,001 races that had a favourite in 2020, said favourite won the race on 11,544 occasions. That works out as 32.98% of the time that the favourite ended up as the race winner, which isn’t night and day from 2021. In spite of their being more racecourses, there were fewer races taking place in 2020 on account of what was happening in the world at that time.

As a result of the slightly skewed data in 2020, it is worth having a look at 2019 as the last year when a full amount of races will have taken place, including those happening in front of crowds. Here’s how that worked out:

CourseNumber Of FavouritesNumber Of Wins For Favourite% Of Wins By Favourite
Belle Vue 1732 597 34.40%
Central Park 2655 925 348.00%
Crayford 3050 980 32.10%
Doncaster 2014 653 32.40%
Harlow 2381 695 29.10%
Henlow 3414 1113 32.60%
Hove 2436 753 30.90%
Kinsley 2388 656 27.40%
Monmore 3484 1147 32.90%
Newcastle 2744 913 33.20%
Nottingham 2053 666 32.40%
Pelaw Grange 1012 305 30.10%
Perry Barr 2459 806 32.70%
Peterborough 1636 539 32.90%
Poole 1589 596 37.50%
Romford 3014 941 31.20%
Shawfield 657 234 35.60%
Sheffield 2871 1021 35.50%
Sunderland 2664 874 32.80%
Swindon 1998 660 33.00%
Yarmouth 1635 491 30.00%

In 2019, there were 47,886 favourites running in Graded races at the 21 courses up and down the country. Of those, 15,565 favourites went on to win the race that they were taking part in, which is 32.50% of races won by the favourite.

Here’s that information side-by-side for comparison:

YearNumber Of FavouritesNumber Of Times The Favourite WonAverage % Of Winners
2021 41, 321 13,748 33.27%
2020 35,001 11,544 32.98%
2019 47,886 15,565 32.50%

In other words, regardless of how many races are taking place around the United Kingdom, you can expect the favourite to win about a third of the time. That is useful information to have if you’re considering betting on a race and wanting to know whether to go along with the bookmaker’s suggestion.

Do Traps Make A Difference?

greyhounds racing and theyre off

You can often read information from tipsters around the idea of traps being influential on the outcome of a race. When it comes to how successful the favourites are, is that actually true? Once again, we can look at the data to see how often the favourite wins when they start in a given trap at the courses around the United Kingdom, so let’s start by looking at exactly that information for 2021:

StadiumTrap 1 FavouritesTrap 1 Favourite WinnersTrap 1 Favourite Win %Trap 2 FavouritesTrap 2 Favourite WinnersTrap 2 Favourite Win %Trap 3 FavouritesTrap 3 Favourite WinnersTrap 3 Favourite Win %Trap 4 FavouritesTrap 4 Favourite WinnersTrap 4 Favourite Win %Trap 5 FavouritesTrap 5 Favourite WinnersTrap 5 Favourite Win %Trap 6 FavouritesTrap 6 Favourite WinnersTrap 6 Favourite Win %
Central Park 487 163 33.5% 403 132 32.8% 479 184 38.4% 370 137 37.0% 323 113 35.0% 588 226 38.4%
Crayford 605 187 30.9% 509 170 33.4% 491 146 29.7% 520 178 34.2% 440 145 33.0% 662 222 33.5%
Doncaster 445 143 32.1% 352 132 37.5% 393 121 30.8% 315 95 30.2% 238 82 34.5% 488 181 37.1%
Harlow 523 140 26.8% 423 134 31.7% 418 97 23.2% 416 117 28.1% 351 109 31.1% 584 159 27.2%
Henlow 628 216 34.4% 469 172 36.7% 503 190 37.8% 398 139 34.9% 332 118 35.5% 439 155 35.3%
Hove 608 201 33.1% 602 219 36.4% 476 155 32.6% 412 137 33.3% 330 99 30.0% 513 174 33.9%
Kinsley 268 82 30.6% 229 63 27.5% 327 119 36.4% 294 83 28.2% 248 63 25.4% 303 78 25.7%
Monmore 589 201 34.1% 559 180 32.2% 604 180 29.8% 523 161 30.8% 457 161 35.2% 562 179 31.9%
Newcastle 401 113 28.2% 419 141 33.7% 517 172 33.3% 460 169 36.7% 281 98 34.9% 523 147 28.1%
Nottingham 293 104 35.5% 309 110 35.6% 340 113 33.2% 315 115 36.5% 234 77 32.9% 365 126 34.5%
Pelaw Grange 108 36 33.3% 89 31 34.8% 73 20 27.4% 68 22 32.4% 61 28 45.9% 65 13 20.0%
Perry Barr 420 133 31.7% 354 119 33.6% 332 111 33.4% 283 106 37.5% 236 81 34.3% 345 113 32.8%
Romford 535 170 31.8% 563 170 30.2% 501 175 34.9% 439 143 32.6% 384 114 29.7% 532 175 32.9%
Sheffield 547 189 34.6% 454 184 40.5% 477 199 41.7% 398 154 38.7% 227 72 31.7% 386 137 35.5%
Sunderland 433 142 32.8% 378 123 32.5% 399 136 34.1% 365 148 40.5% 221 77 34.8% 314 100 31.8%
Swindon 419 130 31.0% 392 135 34.4% 435 132 30.3% 368 129 35.1% 280 86 30.7% 484 160 33.1%
Towcester 328 118 36.0% 301 101 33.6% 358 126 35.2% 250 81 32.4% 134 43 32.1% 245 80 32.7%
Yarmouth 229 71 31.0% 235 82 34.9% 333 128 38.4% 281 114 40.6% 152 40 26.3% 157 48 30.6%

You can clearly see how different traps become relevant at different stadiums, such as the 40.6% of winners from trap 4 at Yarmouth, compared to the 26.3% of winning favourites from trap 5. To put it another way, if you were thinking of betting on the favourite at Yarmouth in 2021, you’d have been more than 14% more likely to win your bet if the favourite had been starting in trap 4 than trap 5.

Does that same degree of information carry across to 2020? Here’s a look at the stadiums that were open then:

StadiumTrap 1 FavouritesTrap 1 Favourite WinnersTrap 1 Favourite Win %Trap 2 FavouritesTrap 2 Favourite WinnersTrap 2 Favourite Win %Trap 3 FavouritesTrap 3 Favourite WinnersTrap 3 Favourite Win %Trap 4 FavouritesTrap 4 Favourite WinnersTrap 4 Favourite Win %Trap 5 FavouritesTrap 5 Favourite WinnersTrap 5 Favourite Win %Trap 6 FavouritesTrap 6 Favourite WinnersTrap 6 Favourite Win %
BelleVue 67 18 26.9% 87 42 48.3% 67 23 34.3% 62 30 48.4% 60 20 33.3% 57 22 38.6%
CentralPark 471 148 31.4% 356 126 35.4% 427 165 38.6% 361 127 35.2% 248 76 30.6% 394 127 32.2%
Crayford 453 145 32.0% 419 137 32.7% 419 140 33.4% 339 109 32.2% 315 101 32.1% 474 146 30.8%
Doncaster 310 98 31.6% 272 73 26.8% 335 103 30.7% 303 123 40.6% 233 73 31.3% 339 107 31.6%
Harlow 340 99 29.1% 284 76 26.8% 385 101 26.2% 312 82 26.3% 234 74 31.6% 389 109 28.0%
Henlow 618 226 36.6% 461 154 33.4% 520 191 36.7% 422 128 30.3% 390 100 25.6% 482 168 34.9%
Hove 486 176 36.2% 412 143 34.7% 353 99 28.0% 310 89 28.7% 290 91 31.4% 403 146 36.2%
Kinsley 276 72 26.1% 232 65 28.0% 299 104 34.8% 279 88 31.5% 165 50 30.3% 219 65 29.7%
Monmore 452 165 36.5% 416 134 32.2% 522 173 33.1% 390 122 31.3% 388 118 30.4% 506 161 31.8%
Newcastle 349 118 33.8% 395 111 28.1% 510 166 32.5% 407 146 35.9% 284 108 38.0% 342 111 32.5%
Nottingham 270 84 31.1% 308 124 40.3% 319 124 38.9% 258 91 35.3% 207 68 32.9% 326 98 30.1%
PelawGrange 127 39 30.7% 93 26 28.0% 78 26 33.3% 70 22 31.4% 83 21 25.3% 115 42 36.5%
PerryBarr 356 118 33.1% 342 100 29.2% 301 105 34.9% 298 95 31.9% 215 71 33.0% 293 89 30.4%
Peterborough 77 23 29.9% 61 29 47.5% 61 26 42.6% 62 21 33.9% 33 12 36.4% 48 12 25.0%
Poole 62 29 46.8% 74 30 40.5% 57 29 50.9% 56 25 44.6% 55 18 32.7% 37 12 32.4%
Romford 485 183 37.7% 487 164 33.7% 432 134 31.0% 328 110 33.5% 277 104 37.5% 419 144 34.4%
Shawfield 17 4 23.5% 8 2 25.0% 21 9 42.9% 16 8 50.0% 23 10 43.5% 0 0 0.0%
Sheffield 433 159 36.7% 357 121 33.9% 409 144 35.2% 288 96 33.3% 240 101 42.1% 315 123 39.0%
Sunderland 385 141 36.6% 346 116 33.5% 394 121 30.7% 280 110 39.3% 217 68 31.3% 320 101 31.6%
Swindon 290 102 35.2% 237 92 38.8% 371 118 31.8% 277 76 27.4% 240 69 28.8% 321 107 33.3%
Towcester 84 21 25.0% 50 20 40.0% 82 27 32.9% 62 16 25.8% 34 10 29.4% 45 13 28.9%
Yarmouth 182 50 27.5% 226 67 29.6% 239 74 31.0% 249 90 36.1% 122 42 34.4% 181 60 33.1%

If we continue looking at Yarmouth as our example course, you can see that the trip still has an influence and that trap 4 is still the best one for a favourite to run out of, the actually percentage of trap 4 winners has dropped from 40.6% to 36.1%. It is also interesting to note that, in 2020, trap 5 wasn’t the trap to avoid if you were the favourite but rather trap 1, closely followed by trap 2.

Finally, does the same sort of thing for the traps at the various courses hold true in 2019, when all courses were open for most of the year?

StadiumTrap 1 FavouritesTrap 1 Favourite WinnersTrap 1 Favourite Win %Trap 2 FavouritesTrap 2 Favourite WinnersTrap 2 Favourite Win %Trap 3 FavouritesTrap 3 Favourite WinnersTrap 3 Favourite Win %Trap 4 FavouritesTrap 4 Favourite WinnersTrap 4 Favourite Win %Trap 5 FavouritesTrap 5 Favourite WinnersTrap 5 Favourite Win %Trap 6 FavouritesTrap 6 Favourite WinnersTrap 6 Favourite Win %
BelleVue 297 91 30.6% 295 109 36.9% 287 101 35.2% 343 121 35.3% 297 105 35.4% 213 70 32.9%
CentralPark 568 190 33.5% 401 136 33.9% 495 179 36.2% 379 133 35.1% 284 85 29.9% 519 202 38.9%
Crayford 621 189 30.4% 457 151 33.0% 529 165 31.2% 446 156 35.0% 376 122 32.4% 602 197 32.7%
Doncaster 361 131 36.3% 304 97 31.9% 402 135 33.6% 331 94 28.4% 240 63 26.3% 376 133 35.4%
Harlow 428 112 26.2% 367 107 29.2% 410 138 33.7% 361 94 26.0% 274 67 24.5% 531 177 33.3%
Henlow 731 268 36.7% 629 201 32.0% 585 171 29.2% 519 186 35.8% 391 112 28.6% 542 175 32.3%
Hove 531 179 33.7% 459 145 31.6% 367 106 28.9% 372 104 28.0% 265 81 30.6% 427 138 32.3%
Kinsley 354 90 25.4% 353 78 22.1% 463 140 30.2% 391 125 32.0% 399 125 31.3% 404 98 24.3%
Monmore 494 158 32.0% 568 187 32.9% 740 253 34.2% 553 180 32.5% 500 176 35.2% 612 193 31.5%
Newcastle 393 118 30.0% 449 141 31.4% 575 226 39.3% 489 153 31.3% 326 99 30.4% 511 176 34.4%
Nottingham 384 142 37.0% 341 87 25.5% 405 138 34.1% 332 107 32.2% 236 78 33.1% 348 114 32.8%
PelawGrange 181 55 30.4% 172 63 36.6% 169 41 24.3% 158 51 32.3% 156 33 21.2% 176 62 35.2%
PerryBarr 507 172 33.9% 420 136 32.4% 404 117 29.0% 406 141 34.7% 327 110 33.6% 391 130 33.2%
Peterborough 301 100 33.2% 337 107 31.8% 286 99 34.6% 304 107 35.2% 184 59 32.1% 217 67 30.9%
Poole 248 96 38.7% 329 129 39.2% 304 104 34.2% 229 101 44.1% 241 76 31.5% 233 90 38.6%
Romford 596 208 34.9% 655 204 31.1% 508 170 33.5% 409 116 28.4% 414 121 29.2% 432 122 28.2%
Shawfield 205 67 32.7% 137 57 41.6% 118 43 36.4% 130 41 31.5% 58 24 41.4% 9 2 22.2%
Sheffield 525 196 37.3% 543 189 34.8% 557 194 34.8% 462 175 37.9% 339 111 32.7% 439 156 35.5%
Sunderland 472 156 33.1% 420 144 34.3% 517 162 31.3% 430 137 31.9% 332 109 32.8% 463 166 35.9%
Swindon 315 95 30.2% 310 114 36.8% 412 131 31.8% 308 100 32.5% 291 91 31.3% 359 129 35.9%
Yarmouth 233 79 33.9% 248 79 31.9% 341 105 30.8% 310 99 31.9% 222 57 25.7% 277 72 26.0%

If we continue to use Yarmouth as our main point of reference, you can see that trap 1 was the best trap to bet on the favourite with in 2019, given that the favourite won 33.9% of their races starting in that trap. That compares with 25.7% of the time that the favourite won when starting in trap 5.