How To Read Horse Racing Form | Beginner’s Quick & Easy Guide

Are you eager to learn how to read horse racing form? While it may appear daunting at first glance, fear not! With a little guidance, reading horse racing form can become second nature.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll break down everything you need to know to decode form guides in order to make informed betting decisions.


Recent Results, Weight & Official Ratings (OR)

When delving into a horse’s form, recent results take centre stage. Typically represented as a sequence of numbers and letters on the race card, the recent form provides valuable insights into a horse’s past performances.

Recent Results

Numeric values indicate the horse’s finishing position in previous races. The rightmost value in the sequence represents the most recent result.

You’ll also need to know the following notation:

  • ‘0’ = the horse finished outside the places (usually top three or four)
  • ‘P’, ‘R’, ‘U’ and ‘F’ = the horse 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 the sequence 815-70, highlighted in red in the example below, the rightmost ‘0’ indicates that the horse finished outside the places in its last race. It finished 7th in the race prior to that, and so on.


Understanding the weight carried by a horse in a race is crucial. Displayed in stones and pounds next to the jockey’s name, the weight allocation is determined by the race’s rules and may include the jockey’s weight, equipment, and any additional saddle bag weights (depending on the event).

In the above example, the weight is shortened to 9-7, shown under the WGT (Weight) heading. Therefore it denotes “9 stone, 7 pounds”.

Official Ratings (OR)

Another vital component of horse racing form is the Official Rating (OR), assigned by the British Horseracing Authority. This numerical rating, such as the ’55’ seen for Roman Times in the above example, provides an assessment of a horse’s performance and abilities.

Official Ratings are bestowed upon horses based on their race results. 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 Official Rating (OR). It can continue racing until it does.

Once a horse obtains an official rating, it becomes eligible to compete in handicap races, adding another layer of complexity to form analysis.


Course & Distance Performance

Letters accompanying horse names in form guides offer insights into their track record. 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.

Understanding these indicators allows punters to gauge a horse’s familiarity and success at specific courses and distances, providing context when making betting decisions.

In the following 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’?

The term ‘Going’ in horse racing refers to the condition of the racing surface, particularly the turf or track. It indicates how firm or soft the ground is, which can significantly impact a horse’s performance during a race.

For more detailed information on the importance of weather conditions in horse racing and how they affect the ‘Going,’ check out our post: The Impact of Weather On Horse Racing (The Going).

Where can I Find Horse Racing Form (Race Cards)?

For horse racing form and race cards I recommend browsing the following list of statistics and data sources (which includes professional databases): Best Horse Racing Form & Stats Websites (Databases).

These resources provide comprehensive information about past performances, jockeys, trainers, and other vital factors influencing race outcomes.

How can I use Horse Racing Form to My Advantage?

Utilising horse racing form effectively can potentially enhance your betting strategies. Consider examining the analyses provided by experts like Adrian Massey, who offers insights, statistics and trends which can be helpful for understanding race dynamics.

Additionally, many tipsters base their predictions on form analysis. To explore further, you could trial reputable horse racing tipsters listed on platforms such as Tipstrr and Smart Betting Club.

For more insights into selecting the best tipsters for your needs, refer to my Guide to Finding Reliable Tipsters.


Where To Place Horse Racing Bets

Now that you’re familiar with using the form to make horse selection, the next step is deciding where to place your bets. Here are my recommendations:

For UK and European bettors:

  • Top Rated Bookmakers: I’ve meticulously reviewed all major UK sports betting sites using an impartial rating system to help you choose the most suitable options.
  • Best Odds Guaranteed Bookmakers: If you’re regularly betting on horse racing, opting for bookmakers offering Best Odds Guaranteed (BOG) is highly recommended. This feature ensures you are paid out at the SP (Starting Price) if it is higher than the price you placed your bet at.
  • Betting Exchanges: While not eligible for Best Odds Guaranteed, betting exchanges provide industry-leading odds and unique sports trading opportunities for savvy punters.

For US horse racing odds:

  • Consider using a reputable American sportsbook like TwinSpires, who offers a wide range of betting options for horse racing enthusiasts.

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Toby @ Punter2Pro
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5 years ago

under A/S what does 3/g – 3/c – 3/f stand for