Australian winning margins range from Dead Heat to a Length or more, and form guides can also have decimal margins which are easier for the layman to read and understand. Horse Racing Info has provided Aussie race winning margins below for easy reference.
When the race judge cannot split two or more horses as they cross the finishing line together then the race is declared a 'Dead Heat'. A photo finish of the race will be carefully examined and a dead heat result declared if no margin can be found.
A nose or a short half head officially, is the smallest amount a horse can win by.
A head is the next winning margin and is the length of a horse's head.
A neck is the next margin and approximately a quarter of a length. The decimal equivalent for the above would range from 0.05L to 0.25L, while from 0.25 to 0.50 would be considered a long neck.
After neck, winning margins are given out according to lengths, with the next margin being a half length, and a three quarter length, or 0.5L and 0.75L.
A length is the distance of a horse from nose to tail and is shown in a form guide as 'len'
E.G. Race margins: 2 len * 4 len or decimally "2L * 4L".
One Length or more
Anything above one length will be shown in a racebook form guide as 1 1/4 len, 3 1/2 len, or 4 3/4 len, whereas the decimal equivalent would be shown as 1.25L, 3.5L and 4.75L.
It is commonly considered that one length equals 1.5 kilograms in weight. Thereby, if a horse wins by 3 lengths then it has theoretically won by 4.5kgs. If this horse goes up 3kgs in weight for his next race against the same horses then he has 1.5kgs up his sleeve.
Those form analysts who do horse ratings for races use similar methods to give a rating figure to a horse.
Using the 1.5kgs equals one length example. If horse A was beaten 4 lens in a race with a race rating of 74, then horse A would have a final rating of 68, which is 74 minus (4 * 1.5) which is 6kgs. Doing ratings this way enables horses to be compared against each other by their rating figures, to find the highest rated runners.
Of course, the above figures are not set in stone, and are open to interpretation, but they provide a basic example of how ratings work. The further a horse has to travel, the more it will be affected by the weight it has to carry.
As far as time goes, 6 lengths is generally considered to equal one second in race time.
Check out our Betting Guide for more information on Australian racing.