Want to learn how to read horse racing form? It looks a bit confusing at first, but it’s easy when you know how. I’ll explain everything you need to know about reading horse racing form in this quick & easy guide.
Reading Recent Results & Weight
The recent form of the horse is most commonly looked at by punters. It’s listed on the race card as a sequence of numbers & letters, with the most recent race represented by the rightmost character.
Numeric values tell you where the horse placed in a race. See the bottom left of the image (highlighted in red).
You’ll also need to know the following notation:
- ‘0’ = means the horse finished outside the places (usually top three or four)
- ‘P’, ‘R’, ‘U’ and ‘F’ = Pulled up, Refused to race, Unseated the rider or Fell.
- ‘–’ = separates this season from last (and when there was a gap of two seasons or more)
In this example, the rightmost ‘0’ in the sequence 815-70 tells us that the horse Roman Times finished outside of the places in its last race.
The weight carried by a horse in any particular race is normally displayed in stones and pounds next to the name of the Jockey. In this example it’s shortened to 9-7, shown under the WGT (Weight) heading, in red. Therefore it means “9 stone 7 pounds”.
The weight carried by a horse is designated by the rules of the race. The allocated weight is made up of the jockey’s weight — along with his equipment — and any weights placed in the saddle bag (depending on the event).
You’ll notice the number 55, labelled ‘OR’. This is the horse’s Official Rating, assigned by the British Horseracing Authority. In the above example, Roman Times has a rating of 55.
Official Ratings are only granted once the horse:
- Wins a race, or
- Loses three times and in at least one of these races finishes in the first six positions.
If it does not satisfy either of these conditions, it is not assigned an OR. It must continue racing until it does. Once a horse has an official rating, it can run in a handicap race.
Reading Course & Distance Performance
Letters alongside horse names are important to take note of. These tell you about a horse’s record for the course and distance.
Here’s what the letters mean:
- ‘C’ = won at this course previously
- ‘D’ = won at this distance previously
- ‘BF’= beat the favourite last time out.
In the above example you can see that horse Tinsill is labelled ‘CD’, meaning it previously won at this course over the same distance.
Horse Racing Form FAQ
What’s the ‘Going’?
Take a look at my post on weather to learn more about the Going: The Impact of Weather On Horse Racing (The Going)
Where can I Find Horse Racing Form (Race Cards)?
I recommend the best ‘traditional’ horse racing form stats & data sources, as well as some modern sites here: Best Horse Racing Form & Stats Websites (Databases)
How can I use Horse Racing Form to My Advantage?
Take a look at the analyses made by Adrian Massey. This will help give you more insight into what statistics play a heavy part in horse racing.
Many Tipsters also based their predictions on form. If you’re interested, I recommend trialling horse racing Tipsters listed on Tipstrr, Smart Betting Club or Betting.com. Read my post on The Best Tipsters for more information.
Where To Place Horse Racing Bets
Once you’ve used the form to select a horse, you’ll need to decide where to place your bets. Here’s my recommendations.
For US horse racing odds, you might consider a reputable American sportsbook such as TwinSpires. UK and European bettors could consider the following sites:
I recommend the following Bookmakers for horse racing. They each offer Best Odds Guaranteed.
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