Welcome to our beginners guide on how to read racing form. It’s a well-known fact that horse racing has always been one of the most popular markets in sport to place a bet on. In the UK alone horse racing is multibillion pound industry, and it comes as no big surprise when you think about it, because there is at least one meeting per day almost every day of the year.
How to study horse racing form
The only thing is for a beginner it is quite daunting when trying to pick out a winner if you don’t understand any of the information when looking at the form guide. Which is why we have put together this horse racing form guide to help you on how to study horse racing form.
Horse Racing Form Guide Explained.
Understanding race cards – Let’s start with the race card. The race card is what you will see when you select a race from one of the race meetings from that particular day. You can also find this information on most popular betting apps. It will contain all the information that you need to know about the race, the horses running, trainer and Jockeys name, type of race (flat/jump/handicap) and so much more. So it no surprise that these statistics can be mind boggling if you don’t understand what they all mean.
Below we are going to through each section to you and help explain how to read racing form.
- Meeting – The race meeting is the course where the race takes place.
- Time of race – Time of the race speaks for itself in this case 2:55pm.
- E/W places & odds – most bookies payout if your selection finishes in the top 3 places with odds of 1/4.
- Distance of the race – The distance of this race is 2 miles 3 furlongs 207 yards.
- Type of race – This race is a handicap jump race (over hurdles).
- Going (surface) – The above example is showing that the ground is (Good).
- Stall number – This horse has been drawn in stall number one.
- Silks – The silks are the colours of the shirt and cap the rider will be wearing. The colours worn reflect who they’re owned by.
- Horses name – The horses name in this case is Barton Rose.
- Trainer and Jockey – Below the horses name you’ll see two names split by a forward slash /. The name on the left is the trainers name, whereas the name on the right is the name of the jokey that is riding the horse.
- Weight – The weight indicates how much weight the horse is carrying.
- Age – Obviously this is the current age of the horse.
- Past form – The past form is indicated as being 58-432, this is explained in a little more detail in the next section of our guide.
- Odds – The odds in this case are 11/4. This means that if you were to stake £11 on this race and you bet won, you would win £15. Which means you get your initial stake back (£11 + £4 = £15).
Horse racing form analysis
When you are looking at the form of the horse, what do the numbers and symbols mean? We are going to explain how to help you better understand the horse racing form analysis below.
We will use Barton Rose as our example. You notice that the form shows as; 58-432
So, going from the form provided in the example above, Barton Rose came 5th in the first race, followed by a 8th place finish then had a break from racing for a while. Then after the break from racing, showed improvement by gaining a 4th, 3rd and then a second place finish in the last race.
In other cases when looking at form guides you may also see some of the following symbols;
- / = This symbol is to show separate seasons, flat & jump racing seasons.
- – = This symbol separates years, to the left of the symbol represents last years results, anything after that is this years form.
- P = This means the horse was pulled up, which could mean the horse was tiered or injured.
- F = This symbol indicates that the horse fell.
- L = Symbol indicates the horse was left at the start.
- U = This means that the horse unseated its rider, for example; it fell but was able to carry on and does so but without the jockey.
- R = Basically the horse refuses to race.
- B = This indicates that the horse was brought down after a collision with another horse.
- V = This is if the race was void.
- D= This means that the horse was disqualified.
What to Look For Guide – Spotting Winners
What to look out for when trying to pick out winners – There are quite a lot of factors to look for when trying to select a winner in any race. We have guided you through how to read racing form, now we are going to give you a couple of ways that will help you to select winners when placing bets. Below we have listed some key points in what to look out for when you place a bet.
Is the trainer in form – The person who trains the horse can make a huge difference to the form of a horse. There many respected horse trainers out there, it would probably help if you familiarise yourself with some of the top ones. Some of the best at present are Nicky Henderson, John Gosden, AP O’Brian, Richard Fahey, Sir Michael Stoute & Hugo Palmer.
Who’s the jockey – Much the same as the trainer, the jockey that rides the horse can have massive impact on how the horse does in a race. Simply because of their years of experience, their knowledge of the course and knowing when it’s the right time to attack his/her competition. Jockeys to look out for, Frankie Dettori, Ryan Moore, Jamie Spencer, James Doyle Andrea Atzeni & William Buick.
Does the ground suit – Is the horse proven to perform on Good ground, or does it prefer Soft ground. These again are tell tail signs of how the horse performs on certain race meetings.
Proven over the distance – If the race is 5 furlongs in distance, check to see what distances it has raced before. Has it performed well at the distance before or is it more suited to longer distances?
Past course results – Has the horse performed well at this venue before, or did it struggle. Some horses perform brilliantly well at some racecourses, so keep that in mind when making your selections.
Weight – Is the weight of the horse stable, has it raced before at the present weight or does it race better carrying less or more weight?
If you want some advice check out our top rated horse racing tipsters and see what they have picked for todays races and why.
Follow Our Horse Form Guide
So when looking at horse racing form analysis make sure you check these factors out before placing your bets. Remember the aim to find the winners, so give yourself the best chance you can and follow our guide on how to read racing form to the tee.
Form guides are industry wide so it doesn’t matter where you are viewing form guides, you can apply what you have learned here and have a better understanding on how to read racing form.