horse racing info

How to read a Horse Racing Form Guide

Australian horse racing form guides can be difficult to understand if you are not familiar with horse racing. We here at Horse Racing Info have endeavored to make that process much easier for you by providing a thorough breakdown of a typical form guide. Hopefully this will make reading a form guide much clearer for you, particularly if you are a novice punter or new to racing.

Generally speaking, a basic form guide will have trainer, jockey, barrier draw and weight details for each horse. Other information might include a horse's total career starts, including wins & places and prizemoney earned, along with their most recent three starts.

Detailed horse racing form guides offer much more for punters who like to delve more deeply into a horse's form. It goes without saying, the more time you take deciphering a race, the luckier you are likely to be in the long run!

Reading a Form Guide

The following form guide example has plenty of detail for a horse called Marasco, trained by Fred Kersley at Ascot. We have gone through each line of the form guide below to explain what it means from a punting perspective.

Typical Australian Horse Racing Form Guide


horse racing form guide explained


Horse Details
1 MARASCO Fred Kersley (Ascot) 14 57.5kg
The number 1 indicates the horse is carrying saddlecloth number 1 in this race field, and he is also TAB No. 1 in your local Australian TAB. The horse's name is MARASCO and trained by Fred Kersley at Ascot. He has drawn barrier 14 and is set to carry 57.5 kilograms in today's race.

Colour, Type, Age & Breeding details
b g 6 Scenic (IRE)-Bluegrass Belle (Is It True (USA)) FOALED :16/08/02
Marasco is a black gelding who is 6 year's old and his sire is Scenic and his Dam is Bluegrass Belle and he was foaled on 16/08/02.

Horse Racing Colours & Jockey
YELLOW, BLACK MALTESE CROSS, QUARTERED CAP (William Pike)
Marasco's jockey has silks that are predominantly Yellow, with a Black Maltese Cross and a Quartered cap, and his jockey for today's race is William Pike.

Horse's Career Stats and Win & Place percentage
Career: 27 13-5-1 $1389500 ** WINS: 48% PLACES: 70%
Marasco has had 27 career starts for 13 wins, 5 seconds and 1 third. He has amassed prizemoney of $1,389,500 in his career to date. Marasco has won 13 races from 27 starts which is a 48% win strike and he has been placed 19 times from 27 starts which is a 70% place strike.

Career Spell / Track & Distance / Track Condition details
First Up: 5 2-0-0 Track: 15 9-1-0 Distance: 2 1-0-0 Trck-Dist: 1 0-0-0 Fast: No Starts Good: 25 12-5-1 Dead: 2 1-0-0 Slow: No Starts Heavy: No Starts WR:1200-1600
These figures show Marasco's career record over a number of areas, including returning from a spell, track and distance details, along with track condition info.

Marasco has had 5 first-up runs from a spell for 2 wins, while he has had 15 starts at today's track for 9 wins and one second placing. At the distance of today's race he has had 2 starts for just the one win. At this particular track over the distance of today's race he's had one start for no placings.

Marasco has had no starts on a Fast track. He has raced 25 times on a Good track for 12 wins, 5 seconds and 1 third. On a Dead track he has had 2 starts for just the one win. Marasco has had no starts on a Slow or Heavy track and has won races from 1200m to 1600m.

Horse's 3rd last start
1-10 BLMT Sat14Jun08 1400 Good, 53 , $126100, BLMT SPRNT , P J Harvey (2) 60 , 1.25L, 2:Oroya Gold (53), 3:Ripped (53), 1-22.83 $2.45
Marasco finished 1st in a field of 10 at Belmont race track on Saturday 14th of June over a distance of 1400m on a Good track with a limit weight of 53 kilograms He contested a race worth $126.100 which was named the Belmont Sprint and his jockey was P.J. Harvey and came out of barrier 2 and carried 60 kilograms.

He won the race by 1.25 lengths from Oroya Gold (carrying 53kgs) who was 2nd, with Ripped running 3rd in a race time of 1-22.83. The starting price for Marasco was $2.45.

Horse's 2nd last start
11-13 ASCT Sat18Oct08 1400 Good, 53 , $102000, NORTHERLY, W A Pike (3) 60 , 2.25L, 1:Megatic (53), 2:Tarzi (53), 1-22.2 $3.30F
Marasco finished 11th in a field of 13 at Ascot race track on Saturday 18th of October over a distance of 1400m on a Good track with a limit weight of 53 kilograms He contested a race worth $102,000 which was named the Northerly Stakes and his jockey was W.A. Pike and came out of barrier 3 and carried 60 kilograms.

Marasco finished 2.25 lengths behind the race winner who was Megatic (carrying 53kgs) with Tarzi finishing 2nd in a time of 1-22.2. The starting price of Marasco was $3.30 and he started favourite.

Horse's Last start
1-7 ASCT Sat8Nov08 1400 Good, WFA, $202000, LEE STEERE, W A Pike(1) 59 , 1.5L 2:Tarzi (59), 3:Hartleys Dream (59), 1-22.67 $1.75F
Marasco finished 1st in a field of 7 at Ascot race track on Saturday 8th of November over a distance of 1400m on a Good track at Weight-for-age. He contested a race worth $202,000 which was named the Lee Steere Stakes and his jockey was W.A. Pike and came out of barrier 1 and carried 59 kilograms.

He won the race by 1.5 lengths from Tarzi (carrying 59kgs) who was 2nd, with Hartley's Dream running 3rd in a race time of 1-22.67. The starting price for Marasco was $1.75 and he started favourite.

More Form Guide Information

When using a form guide you also need to be aware of common abbreviations used to denote various factors in a horse's recent form line.

Form Guide Abbreviations Explained

  • 1-9 = finished the race in 1st to 9th position
  • 0 = finished the race further back than 9th
  • s = indicates a spell which is generally 3 months (some form guides use x)
  • f = fell during the running of the race
  • p = pulled up during the running of the race
  • l = lost rider during the running of the race (some form guides use x)

For example;
1 - 12548 Mercury Rising (last 5 starts finished between 1st and 9th)
2 - 33150 Peter Pan (last start finished further back than 9th)
3 - 2506s Apocolypse (resuming from a spell)
4 - 402s3 Fortress (has had one run from a spell)
5 - 2313f Peacemaker (fell last start)
6 - 3981p Acronym (pulled up last start)
7 - 4903l Green Mile (lost rider last start)

Letters are also used to indicate track and distance performance as outlined below.

  • b = beaten favourite last start
  • t = won at track of today's race
  • d = won at distance of today's race
  • c = won at both course & distance of today's race
  • w = won in wet conditions
  • n = won at a night meeting
  • h = racing on home track

For example;
1 - 12548 Mercury Rising (bth)
2 - 33150 Peter Pan (cwnh)
3 - 2506s Apocolypse (btdw)
4 - 402s3 Fortress
5 - 2313f Peacemaker (t)

If a horse does not have any indicators, such as #4 Fortress, then it means they have not met any of the criteria.

Conclusion
A form line of '11111' is obviously better than a formline of '00000' however it is not always that black and white with horse racing. The horse with 5 wins in a row may have won those 5 races in a much lower class, while the horse who finished worse than 10th five times in a row may have raced in a much higher class and only been beaten 2 to 4 lengths or so each race.

When studying a form guide you need to delve deeper into a horse's recent form and factor many things, including fitness, form, class, jockey, barrier, trainer and so on. If you take the time to dissect a race you will have much more luck than the average punter, who just has a quick glance at the form and makes a hasty decision that more often than not sees him lose his money.

Best Form Guides for Horse Racing

If you would like to know the most popular form guides available around Australia then please visit our Australian Form Guides page where we show you the major players.

Learn about Australian Track Ratings for horse racing to find out how race tracks are rated for the many weather conditions found in this country.

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New to horse racing? Then find out about Racing Bet Types available from Australian bookmakers, while our Horse Racing Glossary provides all of the most common terms for Australian horse racing.

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Visit our Betting Guide to learn more about betting on Australian racing.