Horse Racing Betting Form Explained

If you’re new to horse racing and look at a racecard for the first time, you might find the information a little confusing. After all, there can be lots of data presented on a race card and customers might not always know what it means when they’re scanning through the horses that are going to line up in the next race.

In this article, we explain what various pieces of information on a racecard mean. That way, you are able to understand how likely each horse is to perform well in the latest race and compare the horses in each heat along with the racing betting odds that are available.

How Can You Tell How a Horse Has Been Performing?

When you look through a racecard, you might see a row of numbers or letters appearing to the left of each runner. For example, it’s pretty common to see something like the following:
So what does these numbers indicate? Firstly, we must note the hyphen which indicates the break between the previous season and the current season.

Secondly, the actual numbers refer to where the horse has finished and we therefore have the following:

  • First place
  • First place
  • Fifth place
  • Fourth place
  • First place
Therefore, if we see a horse with this sort of form on a racecard, then it indicates that they have performed well in the past couple of seasons and won three of their previous five outings.

Look at a Horse’s Age, Weight and Overall Rating

Sometimes you will get a race which is exclusively for horses of a certain age. For example, the Derby, Oaks, 1000 Guineas, 2000 Guineas and St Leger are all English classic races and they are for three-year-old horses. Furthermore, the Oaks and 1000 Guineas are for fillies (female horses) and that’s another consideration when weighing things up.

Alternatively, you tend to get National Hunt races which are open to horses of any age and that includes the majority of races at Cheltenham Festival along with the Grand National despite the fact that it tends to be older horses who line up in the latter.

Sometimes it can be significant that a horse has a particular age as the younger runners will be less experienced, while you might also find a difference in the weight that they are carrying for that race.

That is because every horse has a different rating and it therefore means that in a handicap race, you tend to get the so-called weaker horses carrying less weight and the stronger horses carrying more weight.

Indeed, the whole purpose of a handicap race is to try and even up the balance and the job of a customer is to work out the horses that have the most favourable handicap.

Find Out When the Horses Last Raced

You might have noticed that there is a number to the right of each horse’s name and this indicates the number of days since they last raced. Sometimes this can be a number such as 20 which illustrates that a runner has recently had an outing, while it’s not uncommon to find a number such as 230 or even bigger if a horse has had a long lay-off.

It might be the case that we’re looking for a number somewhere in between the above figures considering that we don’t always want a horse who has recently ran and might still be suffering the effects of that race, while a runner who has been injured might need a race back on the track before finding his best form.

Compare the Racing Form and the Horse Racing Odds

When you’ve had a good look at the horse racing form, there’s now an opportunity to compare this to the UK racing betting odds that are available. You might think that a horse who has won his last three races looks a massive price at 10/1 although you have to bear in mind that the runner has perhaps had a step up in class for this race.

Also, there might be a string of horses who have won their last races and you therefore might want to delve deeper and found out what sort of races that they have won and whether it’s over the same distance as the upcoming race.

Finally, you should always check on the ground conditions that are visible on the daily racecard along with the distance of a horse race. These pieces of information are all going to help you place your bets.