Although horse racing is popular worldwide to watch and bet on, one of the key factors limiting new bettors from getting involved is the sport's terminology. In this blog, we will break down and explain all the key information that you will find on today, tomorrow and yesterday's horse racecards, which display all the key information about the horses competing in a particular race.
- Introduction to Horse Racing & Horse Racecards
- What Is a Racecard?
- Top Betting Sites for using Horse Racecards
- Where Do You Find Racecards?
- What Do You Use Horse Racecards For?
- Reading a Horse Racing Racecard
- Terminology – How To Read a Racecard
- Horse Racing Results
- Horse Racecards FAQs
- ThePuntersPage Final Say
Introduction to Horse Racing & Horse Racecards
- Before we begin to explain horse racecards, you need to know the basics of horse racing in the United Kingdom. First of all, there are two types of horse races; one is jump racing – where the horses must clear obstacles during the race, while the other is flat racing, which as the name implies, does not involve any fences to jump during the contest. These two disciplines follow the same principals. Both have owners, trainers and jockeys to orchestrate their performances on the track.
- The jump and flat seasons take place in different times of the year. The jumps season is primarily held between October and April, whereas the flat season begins in April and lasts through to the end of October. The jump season is known as the National Hunt, and includes major festivals such as Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National on its schedule.
- Flat racing is not known by a name, but does have its own range of historic races, including The Derby, The Oaks, 2,000 Guineas and the St Leger. When you arrive at a racetrack or are considering a wager when not in attendance, you should always consider the type of race before placing a bet.
What Is a Racecard?
A horse racing card, or racecard, is used to display all the key information about the horses competing in a particular horse race. A horse race can be decided by fine details, therefore, bettors want to know all the facts and figures before placing their wager on one competitor.
A racecard can help define the differences between two horses, such as their age, form or weight heading into a contest. A horse racing card will also feature the odds for the event, which are a determining factor too.
Top Betting Sites for using Horse Racecards
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Where Do You Find Racecards?
If you are attending a race in person, horse racecards will be readily available around the racetrack. There may be a small fee to pay, although most are presented to patrons upon their entry to the track after purchasing tickets.
If you are not present at the racetracks, horse racing cards are readily available online. You will be able to see them at all the leading horse racing betting sites in the industry, providing a comprehensive breakdown of all the runners and riders, as well as offering their odds.
What Do You Use Horse Racecards For?
You use racecards to determine which horses and jockeys are competing in a particular meet. These cards contain all the key information about which horses are involved in a race, allowing you to digest all the details before placing a wager on the outcome of the contest.
- You may come across a piece of information in the racecard that may sway your decision one way or the other. Therefore, they are crucial tools in the arsenal of all bettors who are interested in horse racing betting tips and results.
- Racecards also provide information regarding odds, although depending whether the information is online, the prices could be out of date. It is always best to track odds using the best betting sites in the industry before lodging your bet.
Reading a Horse Racing Racecard
The screenshot above shows an example of all the information that will be placed in a horse racing card. This particular card is an online version, although they all take on the same appearance whether on the internet or in physical form.
Available on the racecard is the location of the race, the time of the competition, followed by key details of the individual runners and riders.
On this example, the race is at Newcastle at 2:35pm GMT. The details of the horses are evident on the left side of the page and spread across to the right, where you will see odds for the event. This is common across all horse racing cards. Cards are available in the days and hours before races, although they can also provide a picture for the horses that will be running in future events, using odds for ante-post betting.
We will now talk your through all the key terminology found on a racecard.
Terminology – How To Read a Racecard
The first thing you will see on the left side of the page is the number that the horse will wear in the contest. Depending on the amount of horses competing, it can range between 1 and 40, which are the number of competitors that feature in the Grand National races.
The draw number is the slot the horse takes in the stalls before the start of the race, which can be a crucial element of the race and can determine success or failure, notably in flat racing. Therefore, it is an important factor for bettors to consider before placing their horse racing bets.
Perhaps the most important factor of the racecard is the form of the horse. This will be signified by a string of numbers, letters or symbols next to or below the name of the competitor.
The closest number to the horse is the most recent result, so the form dates back from right to left. The numbers are listed 1-9 in terms of where the horse placed in its previous races. If the horse has a 0 among its form, this means that it failed to place in the top 10.
If you see a dash between the numbers, this signifies a separate season. This is usually more common for horses that compete in the National Hunt. A / symbol means that the horse missed the entirety of the previous campaign.
Letters are commonplace when it comes to the form of horses, and each have a special significance.
U or UR – This means that the horse unseated its jockey in the process of the race.
P or PU – These letters signify that the horse was pulled up by its jockey before completion of the race.
F – This letter tells you that the horse fell and failed to complete the race.
R – This means that the horse refused to leave the stalls or the start line.
BD – BD signifies that the horse was brought down by another competitor in the field and therefore failed to complete the race.
All these letters play a vital role in aiding the selection of horses by bettors ahead of races.
The picture of the jersey signifies which colour the jockey will be wearing. It is an aid for spectators and commentators to find the relevant horse in the race.
The jersey colours represent the owner of the horse. It is common to have two jerseys that are the same colour when the owner has two horses in the same contest, although the jockeys will have helmets of different colours.
The name of the horse is self-explanatory, although for people that bet only once a year for a race such as The Derby or Grand National, it can hold significance for wagering.
However, there will also be letters and numbers placed under or to the right side of the horse’s name that require explanation.
C – This term means that the horse has won at the course for the relevant race on the racecard.
D– This signifies that the horse has won at the distance for the relevant race on the racecard.
CD – This means that the horse has won at the course and the distance for the relevant race.
BF – This signifies that the horse was a beaten favourite in its last outing.
There will also be numbers present, which represent the amount of time in days it has been since the horse last competed.
Furthermore, the horse may have an abbreviation of a country next to its name, which signifies that it was bred outside of Great Britain.
This is a simple one as it tells you how old the horse is at the time of the race. Horses in flat racing are younger than their counterparts in the National Hunt, as competitors reach their prime at three years old in the flat. Horses from the National Hunt can race over the age of 10 and beyond, although the prime years are usually from seven to eight, depending on the distance of the race.
This is another straightforward one as it tells you the weight that the horse is carrying in the race.
If the race is a handicap contest, the horses will carry more weight on the basis of their past performances to even the playing field. A professional handicapper will assign the horse's additional weight if it is deemed to be a stronger competitor than its rivals.
The names of the jockey and trainer are usually in tandem, highlighting who will be riding the horse and who has trained it ahead of the race. There are a number of standout trainers in the industry, who tend to have the stronger competitors. Research should be carried out before the race to determine which one of their charges is the strongest racer.
Trainers usually have their preferred jockeys to rise their horses. For example, Rachael Blackmore is the lead jockey for Henry de Bromhead. If De Bromhead has a particularly strong competitor, Blackmore will be trusted in the saddle over other riders. The decisions of jockeys and trainers regarding their choice of horses can sometimes be revealing for bettors.
Leading horse racing media outlets such as the Racing Post and Timeform will provide their ratings for horses. These can be illuminating for bettors before they place a wager. They take into account a number of factors before handing a horse a rating, which is usually a number between 1 and 200.
Finally and most importantly, the odds for the race. On online providers, you can choose which odds you can see based on your preferred betting site, although many will display the best odds available for the specific horse. The horses are usually sorted by their odds for the race in descending order.
Horse Racing Results
You will find the latest horse racing results here on from venues across the United Kingdom. These events will be from both the National Hunt and flat racing.
TIP: Read our article on the best UK horse races and recommended betting sites in the UK to learn more about horse racing and get tips to make a more informed betting decision.
Horse Racecards FAQs
A racecard is a tool of information that horse racing bettors and enthusiasts use as a guide to learn about horses competing in a specific race.
You use a racecard when you are lining up a bet to place on a specific horse race or have a particular interest in the meet.
You can find horse racing cards for tomorrow, today and yesterday right here at ThePuntersPage.
The PU symbol means that a horse was pulled up by its jockey in a previous race.
The BF symbol means that the horse was named as the race favourite for its last race, but was beaten.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
At first, horse racing cards or racecards can be difficult for novice bettors to understand, but they are an excellent way to familiarise yourself with all the key details regarding races. All the information is there, and once understood, it is simple to break down the factors regarding a meet that will allow you the peace of mind to lodge a wager with the best betting sites. They can truly help make a more informed bet.