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, with the most recent race represented by the rightmost digit.
the recent form of the horse “815-70” (bottom left)
‘0’ = finished outside the places (usually top three or four)
‘–’ = separates this season from last (and when there was a gap of two seasons or more)
‘P’, ‘R’, ‘U’ and ‘F’ = Pulled up, Refused to race, Unseated the rider or Fell.
In this example, 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 net to the name of the Jockey. In this example it’s shortened to 9-7, shown under the WGT (Weight) heading, in red.
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 and any weights placed in the saddle bag (which depends on the event).
You’ll notice the number 55, labelled ‘OR’ from the table heading. 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
Course & Distance (Together)
Letters alongside horse names are important to take note of. These tell you about a horses record for the course and distance.
The letters are shown prominently next to the horse (in red)
‘C’ = won at this course previously
‘D’ = won at this distance previously
‘BF’= beaten favourite last time out.
In the above example you can see that Tinsill is labelled CD, meaning it previously won at this course over the same distance.
Horse Racing Form FAQ
What about 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 to what statistics play a heavy part in horse racing.