Understanding horse racing form – Betting Strategy

This article will cover all you need to know about reading horse racing form so that you may more informed wagers on horse racing in the future. Initially, understanding a horses past form and race cards may seem daunting, but this article aims to educate you on everything you need to know about deciphering horse racing form while betting in Ireland.

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What is horse racing form?                             

The phrase “horse racing form” refers to a horse’s physical perfromance and past results in racing. Knowing a horse’s previous form in races can help you forecast how it will do in the current race, which will enable you to place more accurate and educated bets.

Sometimes, horse racing form refers to as a “racecard” or “racing form,” is a comprehensive record of a horse’s recent and prior accomplishments in horse racing contests. This can be a helpful tool for assessing a horse’s abilities and predicting how they might perform in upcoming races. Therefore, you can use this information to place more educated guesses based on past evidence. The majority of horse racing fans and bettors use printed or digital versions of the horse racing forms to examine the data and make informed wagering decisions.

What can I do with this information?

When betting, there are many advantages to knowing about horse racing form. For instance, it can help you comprehend what good and bad horse racing looks like, enabling you to view the competitions much more objectively. Furthermore, being knowledgeable about horse racing will help you make more informed bets at racing bookmakers because you’ll be able to forecast the outcome more accurately. Below are some of the main benefits for evaluating horse race form.

  • Improve knowledge on bad and good horse form and race style
  • You can use this information to inform betting market decisions.
  • Use this information to see patterns and trends in horses performances.
  • Compare different horses performances.
  • Gain insight into jockey and trainer performances.
  • Compare horse form between different horses.
  • Use this information to get a better insight into horse jockeys and trainers.

Where can I find racing forms?

The form figures are located on a race card to the left of a horse’s name. The horse’s finishing positions in prior races are indicated by the numbers, which read from right to left, with the result on the far right being the most recent. In other words, a horse with the form guide number 4893241 won its most recent race, placed fourth in the one before, second in the one before that, and so forth. It really is that easy, but there are a few other words you need to be familiar with first.

On a flat card, a bolded number denotes an all-weather track run. A jumping card with the same value indicates a point-to-point course. A forward slash indicates two seasons ago, whereas figures to the left of a hyphen refer to the season before that.

Accordingly, a form guide that reads 48/932-41 indicates that a horse won its most recent race, placed fourth in the one before, placed second in the most recent race from the previous season, and so forth.

You can normally buy a printed racing form at the track if you’re going to a live horse racing event there. Numerous circuits have specific papers or programmes that offer comprehensive information on the day’s races.

On a wider scale, here are some other resources you can use to find information on a horse:

  • Websites
  • Articles
  • Social media forums
  • Form annuals
  • Sporting news resources
  • Old racing videos
  • Online betting sites

The beauty of having these resources available online makes them widely accessible to everyone. Indeed, being so conveniently accessible on the web means everyone can use this information to their advantage when betting.

Factors influencing horse racing form analysis

It is important to avoid taking a horse’s form at face value; instead, you should also consider numerous factors that could impact a horse’s form. Below, we have outlined some main factors to consider while evaluating a horse’s form in Ireland.

Horse age

All race cards include the horse’s age, which is a crucial consideration. While some races are restricted to a certain age range, others are offered to people of all ages or the majority of them. From a formal perspective, comparing a horse’s age to other factors allows us to ascertain where they are in their career.


Another thing to look out for is the weight the horse is carrying during a race, including that of the jockey. Different weights are handled differently by different horses and could eventually impact the horses race form.


Another thing to consider is the ground surface of the race when deciding a horse’s performance.  Consequently, every horse has a favoured type of ground to race on, whether it be soft or firm. Therefore, reading the ground description for a race meeting and contrasting it with the performance of the horses racing in the races, you may quickly identify which horses are most likely to handle the circumstances.

Horse Class

You can find the race class in the race’s title, this is worth noting sp you can compare it to the class of the horses racing. Look out for whether a horse is entered to a appropriate race, or if a horse is new to the class and may be nervous or even out of its depths. Collectively, this could impact how well they perform and race.


Considering the role of the trainer is signification as they are in charge of supervising the upkeep, food, and fitness of racehorses. Indeed, they are in charge of all facets of a horse’s success, both on and off the track, and they play a significant role in their career. It’s critical to consider the trainer’s previous results and course records when assessing a race.


Some believe that the jockey, who provides a human touch to a horse race, is one of the most crucial components of any competition. Looking at a jockey’s most current and course forms might give you valuable insight into their performance history. It is crucial to pay attention whenever a jockey has a track record of winning with a specific horse.

The tracks draw

The draw must be considered on the flat for a range of tracks and distances. The starting stalls for each horse are assigned according to the results of the draw. On some courses, a “wide” draw might be a significant disadvantage, and an inside draw can be problematic if the racing surface is known to be slower there. By looking at the number in brackets next to your horse’s number on the race card, you can determine where it was drawn.


Horses can employ a variety of “headgear” to sharpen their focus during a race; this headgear frequently significantly boosts a horse’s chances of success. There will be a letter next to the horse on a race card if it is wearing blinkers, hoods, or cheekpieces, which are the three basic types of headgear. While some trainers have a strong track record using headgear, sometimes reaching for a pair of blinkers might backfire since they may be used as a last resort to treat a troublesome horse rather than as a potential stimulus for improvement.

Time since the last horse race

Depending on how recently they have run, horses frequently show trends in their form. Again, these patterns might be influenced by trainer techniques and outside variables like draw and pace, but it is always helpful to consider how a horse has done following a specific absence. Some runners perform best when they are fresh and haven’t been to a racecourse in a while, while others perform at their peak following a recent run, allowing them to reach their ideal fitness level.

Terms to learn relating to horse racing form

Below are some key terms you will likely come across when understanding horse racing form when wagering in Ireland. Taking time to learn these can increase your knowledge of the sport and make you more clued up on events. Indeed, the more you understand about horse racing, the better chances you have of placing a more successful bet.

Numbers 1 to 9These are numbers given to the horse that successfully finished the race.
Number 0This is a number given to a horse that finishes outside the top nine.

You will also come across numerous abbreviations when decoding horse race performance and form. These are the key abbreviations to be aware of.

FA horse that fell
RA horse that refused to run the race
BDA horse that has been brought down by a fellow runner
CDA horse that has won over this course in the past as well as this race distance
OA horse that ran out before
SA horse that slipped
CA horse that has won a race of this course in the past
BFA horse known as the beaten favourite for a race but has not won
U/URA horse that unseated its jockey
PA horse that has been pulled up in the race
DA horse that won over this race distance before

Below are the key abbreviations when referring to a horse’s headgear. As we mentioned, this is a factor that could impact a horse’s form. Once you are aware of what horse gear the horse is equipped with, you can research the impacts of said headgear to improve your form predictions.

PSheepskin cheekpieces
EEye hood
HTHood and tongue tie

FAQ on the horse racing form

Below are some commonly asked questions regarding horse racing while betting in Ireland.

Why should I learn horse racing form?You should take time to consider horse racing if you want to make smarter bets. Therefore, understanding horse race form is principally a tactic and strategy for placing more informed bets to help you better predict the outcomes. It is worth understanding and evaluating horse racing form if you want to increase your chances of winning.
What kind of information can I expect to find on a horse racing form?Information about a horse’s most recent races is contained in its racing form, including the date, track, distance, jockey, trainer, finishing place, and any remarks or notes regarding the horse’s performance.
How can I use a horse racing form to make betting bets in Ireland?Bettors can use a horse race form to assess a horse’s recent performance, class, consistency, and suitability for a certain race. Based on variables like race conditions and odds, they can make intelligent wagering decisions with the use of this information.
Do horses tend to improve or decline in form in races throughout their career?Yes, due to a variety of circumstances, such as age, training, injuries, and modifications in racing conditions, horses can either improve or degrade their form. When evaluating a horse’s form, it’s critical to take recent developments into account.
What do the terms ‘going’ and ‘track condition’ mean when reading a horse’s form?The condition of the racetrack’s surface is referred to as “going” or “track condition”. It might be “fast” (hard and dry) or “heavy” (muddy and damp). It’s crucial to take this into account because horses may behave differently depending on the track’s circumstances.
Where is the easiest place to find information on horse form?Racetracks, online betting services, racing periodicals, specialised websites, and mobile apps all have access to racing forms. Much of the information can now be found online, which makes accessing this information easy, especially when betting online. Indeed, make sure to consider this information before betting to increase your chances of winning.
How far back in a horse’s history should I look and consider when betting?It depends on personal preference and the horse’s recent performance on how many races to take into account. Many handicappers concentrate on the horse’s most recent three to five races, but it’s also important to take its career performance into account.