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How to read a Race Card
in Horse Racing
When you are betting on horses for the first time it can be quite daunting but rest assured there are many experienced punters who don't have a complete grasp of what the information is saying about the race, horse, trainer or jockey. Likewise many punters have one or two bookmakers that they bet with but its really important to join a good selection of the top sites which you can easily find by using odds checking sites.
Race Header
Race Card Header
Race course venue, date and time are all pretty obvious. This is followed by the name of the race which always involves the sponsor's name and will usually be followed by the type of race. In this case its a handicap, so the horses must have an official rating provided by the British Horse Racing Authority. At the end it says 'Chase' so we know this is a National Hunt race over fences rather than hurdles. (There is one other type of NH race and that is a flat race, known as a bumper, for horses that are new to NH)

(CLASS4) means what it says. There are 6 classes, 1-6, for NH races and 7, 1-7, for flat races. Class 1 is for top flight horses.

(4yo+ 0-120) means its for 4 year old horses and older and 0-120 means their rating can be up to and including 120.

The next line is self explanatory except the Going which is a measure of how the course is with regards to turf or AW conditions. They range from Hard to Firm, Good to Firm, Good, Good to Soft, Soft and Heavy. Tracks deemed Hard no longer race so this does not appear anymore. For articial surfaces (known as All Weather or AW) there are Fast, Standard to Fast, Standard (normal), Standard to Slow and Slow.
Race Details
Race Card Details
The part of the card are more race details. First is total prize money for all places and then more details about the type horse allowed which here is fillies and mares (female horses 5 years and older) so female horses only.

Minimum weight means the total on the horses back with jockey, sadle and weights is 10 stone.

Penalties means that is a horse has won a race since the last rating update, in this case Nov 5th then their rating will increase by 7lb and so the weight they carry.

Shaky Gift's Handicap Mark is the name of the top rated horse and their rating is the top allowed which is 120.

Entries 9 means 9 were entered into the race but this does not mean they will all run.

Penalty value is a racing way of saying prize money.
Horse, Jockey and Trainer Details
Race Card Horses
So only 4 horses ran in this race, many withdraw if the conditions of the race change, for instance rain makes the ground heavy.

1, 2, 3, and 4 down the left are the sadle cloth numbers. In flat racing there will be a number in brackets which indicates the stall number that they start from. Underneath each sadle cloth number is the horses recent form. So horse 1 has form 3141-4 which means in the most recent race Shaky Gift came 4th and the dash before that means results from last season are to the left of the dash so she has only run once in the current season. These can also be letters, P = pulled up, F = Fell, U = unseated rider, R = refused, C = carried out, S = slipped, B = brought down, V = void race and d = disqulified. On Flat races the numbers in bold are All Weather performances and in Jumps races they refer to a Point-to-Point race.

The colours are obvious but they can sometimes be different at the race track and this will be announced by the commentator. These are followed by the horses name. Underneath the name the boxes in this view are for online notes only. The C and D are letters that say that this horse, Shaky Gift has won at this same course (C) and over this same distance (D). The number '21' means that the horse last ran 21 days ago.

If the horses name is followed a letter, as with Dawnieriver then this indicates the type of any headgear that they are wearing. p = sheepskin cheek pieces but it could also be b = blinkers, v = visor, e/s = eye shield, h = hood and t = tongue tie. There are some other minor ones which do not appear often. If the letter has a 1 after it that means the horse is wearing this headgear for the first time.

WS means the horse has undergone recent wind surgery. The types of surgery included under the definition of wind surgery include: Tie Back (prosthetic laryngoplasty), Hobday (ventriculectomy/cordectomy), Epiglottic surgery, Tie Forward (dorsal displacement soft palate surgery) and Soft Palate Cautery.

Age of the horse is obvious.

Under the heading WGT and OR are sets of numbers in 2s. WGT of 11-12 means the weight allocated to the horse to carry is 11 stone 12 pounds. If the jockey, Noal Fehily had a number to the right like '5', this would indicate the jockey is claiming 5 lbs and you must deduct this from 11-12 to get the real weight the jockey is carrying. OR which is under 11-12 is the horses official rating which have already seen is 120.

The two names are jockey first and then trainer. Numbers after a jockey indicate how many pounds they are claiming, none here but new jockeys start most races with a weight allowance. The number after the trainers name is a judgement by the card producer of what % of the trainer's horses have run to form in the last 14 days.

TS means Topspeed rating and is a stopwatch based rating with allowances for previous race conditions and weight carried now. In National Hunt racing these are not that useful.

RPR is the Racing Post Rating which is created by the Racing Post who provide the racing sheets in bookmakers. It is by their private form handicapers and includes penalties but once again does not take into consideration a jockey's claim, like the weight carried shown on the card.
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