Guide on How to Read a Racing Form

Racing forms, or form guides, are packed with information about a specific race and the horses and jockeys that are competing in it. When you’re betting on the events, they’re often the best place to start. You can find out how to read them right here.

Information on the Race

At the top of the racing form, you’ll see the time, location and distance of the event. Below, the entry requirements and classification will be explained. The only race information that is not provided is the track surface, but you should easily be able to find those details online.

The rest of the guide will tell you about each specific horse, and you can compare their stats with the race information to decide who will fair best. For example, the amount of weight that a horse will carry is usually listed in the fourth column and will have more or less of an impact depending on the track distance.

Column 1 Lists Horse Numbers

Generally, horses are organised by the numbers they will wear in the race. To the right of their race number, in the same column, you might see a bracketed number. This indicated the horse’s draw, or starting position in the stalls.

There are advantages to positions 2 to 10, so be sure to check the draw numbers carefully. The jockey’s shirt colour is usually next to this, so you’ll know what’s happening if you’re watching the race in real time.

Column 2 Lists Horse Rank

The horse’s rank in their past few races is typically the next column on the form, although these may be listed underneath the horse number. If their rank number is higher than 9, a 0 is listed. Sprinters that are ranked from 1 to 3 are usually considered the safest bets at Horse racing betting sites.

Column 3 Lists General Information

In the third column, you’ll normally see the horse’s name, colour, gender and lineage. The colour is shown with abbreviated lowercase letters, such as ch for chestnut. You’ll also see numbers and capital letters, which refer to how long it has been since the animal’s last race and specifics about its record, respectively. If you see CD, for instance, you know the horse has won on this course at this distance in the past.

Column 4 Lists Weight Carried

The amount of weight a horse will be carrying is registered in stones and pounds, with a stone being equal to 14 pounds. You’ll also see the sprinter’s age here, and in general you want these numbers to be as low as possible.

Column 5 Shows Jockey and Trainer

As you gain more experience and insight into trainers and riders, you’ll know which of them you prefer to back. Once you’ve identified the likely winners on the form, you can expand your research and start to check out official ratings, past performances and specific course information such as number of turns. Start with the form guide, and go from there.