Understanding Horse Racing Form

Written by TrevStone

We hear the term “form” all the time in horse racing circles, especially when it comes to putting money down on a race. Most of us are not expert or professional punters, so chances are we don’t fully understand the form of racehorses or exactly what we should be looking for when determining which horse has the best chance of winning a given race.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at form, what it means and how to use the knowledge to your advantage.

After all, it’s a very important part of the overall mix when it comes to developing winning strategies so you can actually make a profit from horse race wagering rather than simply “taking a punt” and hoping for the best.

Custom Form Guides

These days there are so many websites online where you can either go for information on a form or even place your bets online through the website. Each website has their own individual way of displaying a horse’s form, which can get a little confusing for the more inexperienced.

A good idea is to study the form guides on a number of different sites so you truly get a grasp of what’s being said and what you’re looking at.

Often you’ll find that these websites try their best to make what’s displayed very easy to follow and self-explanatory.

It’s all a matter of familiarizing yourself with different formats so you gain a full understanding.

One way to achieve this is to simply study the form for just the one race on several different sites. A good example of this would be to focus on the Melbourne Cup 2019 horses and keep studying the form until you feel you fully grasp it all.

Okay, so let’s move on.

Understanding Quick and Recent Form

To try and pick a race winner, or decide on the right combination of horses for an exotic bet, such as a trifecta or quadrella, studying the most recent form of a racehorse leading into the race can give you a very good idea of how the horse has been travelling in recent race meets.

If a horse has not featured prominently in its last four starts, then that trend could be likely to continue. Either the horse (or riders) are out of form. Or maybe the horse is still developing and hasn’t yet reached a winning standard.

Generally when you’re reading about a horse’s recent form – where it finished in the last 3-5 races or so – this will be indicated by a single-digit number if it placed in the top 9. A zero will usually indicate that it finished 10th or worse, and letters likely indicate it didn’t finish the race at all or simply didn’t compete.

If you come across a horse with a string of ones next to its name (11112), then that horse is a very good proposition to put your money down on, as it’s in excellent winning form and on a streak that may very well continue.

Comprehensive Racehorse Form

This is where you really dig deep into the form of each horse, studying the results of every single race that the horse has ever competed in. This can be very time consuming and laborious, and not likely necessary when looking for potential race winners, as the more recent form will serve you well.

However, digging into the entire history of a horse can have its advantages, especially when it comes to things like track conditions. You can determine what type of conditions it consistently performs well on, and if those conditions match up with the conditions on race day, then this could be a winning horse.

Other things you can look for are patterns when it comes to particular jockeys riding the horse, as well as how it has performed on different racecourses around the country.

Sometimes digging deep like this can help you truly determine and understand what recent form might be indicating. For example, if a horse has won its past four starts but they’ve all been on dry tracks, if it’s going to be a heavy track on race day, a recent form may not count for much if that horse doesn’t perform well on heavy tracks.

Anyway, there’s a brief explanation of the form, what to look for and how to use it to your advantage.

About the author


Trevor 'TrevStone' Uren founded Pro Sports Extra in 2011 at the age of 13. He's hosted a podcast since 14 years old and continues to grow each month! He's currently 24 years old and has interviewed hundreds of professional athletes, business owners, and others who are shining online! Uren has built Pro Sports Extra to over 5M monthly visitors.