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Racing Form Cards Explained:
Reading Form and Abbreviations

When first gazing upon the plethora of information crammed onto a horse racing card, this alone can scare off some beginners from betting. Here with the help of our expert tipster, we breakdown each section and help put the odds in your favour.

Jockey Colours

Here jockey shirts feature a wide range of colours and designs. Multiple jockeys, backed by the same owner, can compete in the same race, so you might see the same colours or silks worn.

Race Number and Draw

A numerical list of all horses taking part, although some online racing cards will list the favourite at the top. The number in the bracket shows the horse's stall or draw and is where the horse will start from. There is a bias that the draw can affect which horses reach the fast ground of a racecourse first.
Here is a breakdown for the section regarding each horse's recent form.
  • The numbers “1-9” show the position the horse finished in the race
  • The number “0” shows that the horse finished outside the first 9
  • The symbol “–” separates racing seasons. Numbers before the “–” are for the previous season
  • The symbol “/” shows a longer gap, for example, if the horse missed an entire racing season
  • “P” or “PU” shows that the jockey pulled the horse up and did not complete the race

    The following abbreviations normally apply to horse jump racing:
  • “F” shows the horse fell
  • ”R” shows a horse refused
  • “BD” shows another runner brought the horse down
  • “U” or “UR” shows that the horse unseated its jockey

    Here are some other abbreviations you will see:
  • “C” shows a horse has won on that course before
  • “D” shows a horse has won over that distance before
  • “CD” shows a horse has won over course and distance
  • “BF” stands for beaten favourite and shows a horse was favourite for a race, but did not win.
Grab Free Racing Tips from Tipsters
While you can use form cards to come up with your own predictions, you should also take advantage of the latest tips revealed by tipsters known as experts in the field. Some websites have large teams of experts that study the latest races before giving you their readers free horse racing tips. Some even have famous tipsters such as Peter Scudamore and Alan Kelly.

Of course, you should still create your own predictions but these racing pundits are right more than wrong. So always consider the horse racing predictions they offer. As well as giving expert tips every day, these websites also provide horse racing betting previews, and give readers a full overview of major events such as the Grand National and Royal Ascot.
Age & Weight

Here you can see the age in years, the weight shown in imperial units. For condition and handicap races, each horse will have to carry a certain weight, depending on age, sex and previous races won to meet the entry requirements.

Horse Name

Clear and boldly written and easy to recognise. If you regularly follow a horse, then you will know next to their name is a number in brackets which shows the number of days since their last race.


Importantly, the jockey's name appears next. Following a successful jockey or stable can be a profitable strategy in horse racing.

Trainer & Owner

They will clearly list these for you to research further and see which trainers and owners are in-form and if they had previous success on a particular racecourse.

Finally, you will have the official BHA Rating for each horse whereby handicappers assess and rate horses once they have competed in enough races and events.

Timeform is another rating displayed and differs depending on the racing publication. More in depth including the difference of the weights, the distance of the race, the time of the race, the weight carried by the runners and their age, conditions of the ground and weather, all important factors which can affect the outcome in horse racing.
With this knowledge, you will now have the ability to learn and study the form of any horse before a race. WHy not see if you can pick out your top 5 contenders for the 2021 Kentucky Derby?