How to Read Horse Racing Form?

Horse racing is a sport enjoyed by many people, some who take it seriously and others who just like to bet for fun. If you are looking to take horse racing seriously then one of the first things you need to do is to understand how to read horse racing form (read this – how to pick a winner horse?).

This is going to be key to how you make your selections in the future, and of course, you need the right selections if you want to win. If you don’t understand something then you may be missing a key part of the puzzle, or worse, you could be thinking that it means something else, and get that wrong.


🐎 How to read a form guide for horse racing?

To read a horse racing form guide you need to look at finishing position numbers or abbreviations. But form everyone can see, the most important thing is to know how to read and work on snippets which you should take from a horse race form guide and which decision you will make.

🐎 What does P mean in horse racing form?

P means in horse racing form that horse was pulled up in that run.

🐎 What does L mean in horse racing form?

L means in horse racing form that horse was left at the start and didn’t compete in the race.

🐎 What does C mean in horse racing form?

C in horse racing form indicates that a horse has won on that course before.

🐎 What does V mean in horse racing form?

V in horse racing form means that the race was voided or the race produced with no result.

🐎 What does R mean in horse racing form?

R means in horse racing form that horse refused to race in that run.

🐎 How to study horse racing form?

To study right horse racing form you need to look in the race card and form runs from left to right (oldest races on the left, most recent on the right). The numbers indicate the position, symbols separate racing seasons and abbreviations normally apply to jump racing.

Understanding the form and reading it correctly should enhance your horse racing knowledge and allow you to enjoy yourself more and place better-planned bets with your betting sites UK.

Table of content

What is Form in Horse Racing?

Form in horse racing is your look back at what a horse has achieved in the past. Of course, every race is different, but by using the form book, you should be able to work out which horses have the best chance given the race they are in and the opposition.

The form card shows you horses that have been running really well recently, and those that have been struggling, including not being able to finish a race for a variety of reasons.

how to read a form guide

By choosing a horse based on form, you are putting thought into your selections, rather than just making a random choice. However, for that selection to be worth anything at all, you need to ensure you are able to read the form correctly and take the best information from it.

Horse Racing Card Meaning

When you are reading the horse racing form, there are two important elements that you need to understand and use to your advantage. The first is a combination in horse race card of mainly numbers, but also sometimes letters which are found at the side of a horse. This is their recent form figures.

Secondly, at the opposite side of the horse’s name, you will find letter abbreviations, which have a meaning to them and these are also key to understanding more about the chance that your horse has in a race.

horse racing form numbers letters

Horse Racing Form Numbers

At the side of your horse, you will see a line of form numbers. These may include letters, which we will get to shortly, but for flat racing, you will see full numbers. The number that is on the right-hand side of the sequence is the most recent run, and you will usually see the last three or five runs, though some form cards will show more.

Here is what each number means.

1 – the horse won the race

2 – the horse finished 2nd

3 – the horse finished 3rd

4 – the horse finished 4th

5 – the horse finished 5th

6 – the horse finished 6th

7 – the horse finished 7th

8 – the horse finished 8th

9 – the horse finished 9th

0 – the horse finished 10th or worse

how to study horse racing form

So, as an example: Form figures of 621

This means the horse won its most recent start, was 2nd on the start before that, and 6th on the start before that.

Horse Racing Form Letters

Mixed in with those numbers you will see some letters, these are mainly used in jump racing, so you will notice them more when looking at this type of racing. Here are the different letters that can be used and what they mean.

F – The horse fell in this run

R – The horse refused to race in this run

U – The horse unseated its rider in this run

P – The horse was pulled up in this run

B – The horse was brought down in this run

where to buy a racing form

These all explain a run where the horse has not finished the race, so a number cannot be used to tell us the finishing position of the horse.

Here is how form may look when it shows the last five runs.


This form is explained like this:

Most recently the horse won, before that it unseated the rider, prior to that it was pulled up, the race before finished 6th and the race before that, the horse fell.

Additional Abbreviations

Away from the form, there are more abbreviations that you will see on a race card and you should also take note of these. Normally, cards are set out with the form being shown to the left-hand side of the horse’s name. If this is the case, these additional abbreviations will be shown on the right-hand side of the horse’s name.

horse race card

Here is what else you need to look for:

C – The horse has previously won at this course

D – The horse has previously won over this distance

CD – The horse has won over both course and distance together (exactly the same as today’s horse race)

BF – The horse has been a beaten favourite in a previous run

Horse Racing Form Analysis

If you want to take your betting to the next level and get an advantage over the bookmakers then you need to find an angle you can use to your advantage against them. For many people this is form, and it is a great way to enhance your knowledge and make your picks better.

The form is there for everyone to see, but knowing how to read it and working out what snippets you should take from it will form the decisions you make and the picks you place bets on.

A combination of knowing what each part of the form guide means and knowing what parts to lift out and use yourself is needed if you want to be a successful horse racing punter. Learning the form book, and then implementing what you have learnt is a step that many people make while betting.

With the right form analysis, you can go from making guesses about horse racing to carefully selecting runners based on past form, which will more than likely increase your chances of winning.

Dalius Mikalauskas

Sports Betting Expert

Dalius became interested in sports betting at the age of 16, although he could not place bets at that time (bets accepted from the age of 18). However, it was not forbidden to sell betting picks, which is what the author did actively on sports betting forums. Today, he has more than 18 years of experience in sports betting. In school, the auth ..
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