Welcome to the first instalment of a two part series from BettingGods.com which will seek to unravel the seemingly complicated nature of horse and greyhound race cards.
At first glance it may just appear as an indecipherable sea of numbers, but it’s actually very straight forward to read and can provide you with a wealth of information at a quick glance. This week, we begin with race cards for horse racing giving you plenty of time to brush up on your skills before the upcoming Grand National!
To help explain the nature of race cards, we’ll use this example as a point of reference. You may notice that different publications present them in varying ways, but ultimately the same information can largely be found on each and every one.
The location of the race course will usually be noted at the top of the race card page, so the first box at the top of the card is used to give a general overview of the race. In this instance, 3.20 sees the running of the BettingGods.com Supreme Chase – a classic race by anyone’s standards. The prize pool is the total amount of money of prize money that will be paid out to horses that qualify. In most cases, the first five horses to finish are awarded a share of the prize money – this year’s Grand National has a prize pool of £1,000,000!
The distance is also given in miles, furlongs and yards (if applicable), but other information may also appear. It’s not uncommon to see the type and class of race included in the general information box. If you’re in any doubt about the various types of horse race that you might find in race cards then check out our handy guide to different types of horse races.
Working down into the second section we reach our list of horses – Romeo Foxtrot, BeeGee Tips and Saffron Dancer. These are followed underneath by the names of their respective trainers, while the jockey names are located next to the colours they will be wearing for the race. Although they aren’t shown in the image, horses wearing pacifiers would have the following next to their name:
b = Blinkers
t = Tongue Tie
h = Hood
c = Cheek Pieces
With the names of the race, horses, jockeys and trainers out the way, things always seem a bit trickier when it comes to the numbers, so we’ll work through them methodically and break down exactly what information we are being told here.
Starting with Romeo Foxtrot, we are firstly given his race number which in this instance is 1. In handicap races, the horse carrying the highest weight will carry the lowest number. In the example race card, the exact weights can be found on the far right of each horse entry. In Romeo Foxtrot’s case he is carrying 12st 0lbs which is expressed as 12-0. As the second highest weight, BeeGee Tips carries number two and a weight of 11st 10lbs expressed as 11-10, as is the same with Saffron Dancer. The ages of each horse are located as a separate, standalone number next to their allocated weight.
Beside the horse’s race number is a small number in brackets which is used to indicate the stall that the horse will run from. We then come to the actual form of the horse and can glean a significant amount of information from the amalgamation of letters and numbers to the left of the horse name. Taking Romeo Foxtrot as the first example, his form guide reads ‘111-354’ which gives his finishing positions for the past six races. The most recent race is on the right, so last time out he finished fourth. The dash represents the end of a season, so while he finished third, fifth and fourth this year, he won his three races in the campaign.
As with Beegee Tips, we can garner his most recent results but this time have some zeros and letters thrown in for good measure. His form guide of ‘5700UP’ tells us that he was pulled up in his last race – that is to say that he jockey withdrew him during the event. In his penultimate start, his jockey was unseated, most likely at a fence or hurdle, although stranger things have happened in horse racing! Prior to that he finished outside of the top nine on two occasions which are marked by zeros.
There are other examples, some of which you can see in the form of Saffron Dancer:
F = Fell
D = Disqualified
/ = Used to separate the different seasons
R = Refused at a jump
Although the race card is an excellent point of reference for quick information, there are vast amounts of data not included which are tirelessly studied by our tipsters to deliver consistently profitable months. Learning how to read these race cards is the perfect grounding to prepare yourself for more adventurous form study and propel you to regular increases from your betting investment.
Next week, we’ll be taking a look at the various detailed information that can be taken from greyhound racing race cards and decipher the plethora of stats and statistics that could see your fortunes change!