The wait is finally over. At 10.21 this morning the hare will spin at Perry Barr and greyhound racing will be off and running again. And with 12 meetings on resumption day there's plenty to choose from as Darrell Williams explains.
"Patience is needed for the best bet on the card with The Other Yolo (21:21) – yet another on the ‘weight check’ theory who appears fit and ready to go for McPherson – on her first run since her seasonal break in January"
As the last sport to close down before the lockdown it is rather apt that greyhounds are the first resume. But with a plethora of action - all streamed live www.betfair.com it's a question of where to start first.
Starter for 10
With tracks initially limited to a maximum of ten races and thirty minute gaps between each contest - meaning each card takes 4 ½ hours to complete - the four 'morning' fixtures soon metamorphosize into another four afternoon/early evening cards before a further four late afternoon/evening programmes get underway. But whichever way you look at it that's 120 winners that need finding!
Live TV returns
Greyhound racing's resumption also means the return of Racing Post Greyhound TV (Sky 175) this evening with an earlier start time of 5pm (4.30pm Friday to Sunday) to fit in all 20 races across the two evening cards at Nottingham and Yarmouth. Join Dave Clark and myself if you can.
But how do you find those winners? Every greyhound has had two trials ahead of its comeback race - the first a sprint - but with at least ten weeks since they last raced plenty of interpretation will be required in reading the formbook.
fresh is best
Some greyhounds naturally go well after a break - a trawl through career records will confirm those best 'fresh' while bitches whose seasonal date was in early February or just after should in theory be close to reaching their peak based on the usual sixteen-week rule. Young lightly raced pups will also naturally be the subject of plenty of interest.
Another theory I am interested in is that of the greyhound's weight. Not something I usually pay a huge amount of attention to but surely a clue as to the readiness of a dog for its return. Those whose weight is up a kilo or more since they last graced the track - with the exception of puppies - may be best watched first time back while runners who've shed the equivalent amount could be worth noting - particularly if the market speaks in their favour.
With that in mind a speculative wager on Adrian McPherson's runners in the early Nottingham races could be of interest. Litter-mates Honour Ferrari - on the back of a sharp trial (17:21) and Honour Corvette (17:51) both return a lot lighter than when last seen while kennelmate Lily Gudbucka (18:21) down 1.7kg since her last run in last week's trial all catch the eye.
Patience however is needed for the best bet on the card with The Other Yolo (21:21) - yet another on the 'weight check' theory who appears fit and ready to go for McPherson - on her first run since her seasonal break in January.
Peter Harnden's Salacres Lucky (19:51) can also take advantage of a significant drop in weight while Talbots Inch also looks sharp to go and can overcome a double-penalty in A1 company (21:51).
Done deal at Yarmouth
Over at Yarmouth That's The Deal - season date early February - looks ripe for a big run in A7 company (17:36) while Fern Alley (21:36) up two kilos since his last outing - can be opposed in the closing A4 contest.
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That's The Deal to win 17:36 Yar 1*
Salacres Lucky to win 19:51 Nott 1*
The Other Yolo to win 21:21 Nott 2*
Fern Alley to lay 21:36 Yar 1*
Talbots Inch to win 21:51 Nott 1*