Gathering information on Horses for Sportsbetting

A lot of information is given by the race cards printed in newspapers or programmes. The format varies depending on the publication. To save space many abbreviations are used.

Example race card

2.00 Winner’s Stakes £3,752 (4 run)
1(2) 2/1-132 Liberty Dawn          J Jones 5114 J Smith  
                   (14) (B, CD)
2(3)     Bronze Cannon               F Evans 41010 D Bolton
3(1}     111 Lucky Luc (28)         S Moon 41010 S Heard
4(4)     Suzie’s Boy                    G Chip 5 11 4 K Bearman
Betting: 2 Lucky Luc, 4 Liberty Dawn, 10 Bronze Cannon, Suzie’s Boy.
2.00     – time of the race
Winner’s Stakes     – name of the race
£3752     – prize money to the winning owner
(4 run)     – number of runners
1     – race card number
(2)     – draw – position in starting stalls
01-132     – the horse’s form in its last six races
1 = 1 st, 2 = 2nd, 3 = 3rd, 0 = unplaced, d = disqualified
A dash (-) is a break of one season. An oblique (I) indicates two or more seasons’ break. The figure on the right is the latest race. In national hunt racing the following abbreviations are also used: U = unseated rider; F = fell; B = brought down; P = pulled up; R = refused.
Liberty Dawn     – the name of the horse
(14)     – number of days since it last ran
(B, CD)     – meanings of abbreviations follow:
B = horse was wearing blinkers, headgear that restricts lateral vision
V = visor, blinkers that minimize awareness of activity on either side H = a hood
E = eyeshield
B* = blinkers worn for the first time
BF = beaten favourite last time out
C = winner over the course
D = winner over the distance
CD     – course and distance winner
J Jones     – name of trainer
Betting     – rough guide to what the betting is likely to be
5 11 4     – a 5-year-old horse, carrying 11 stone 4
J Smith     – name of the jockey


Learn about horse racing
Become knowledgeable about horse racing. Read as many publications as possible. Ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the subject. Keep up to date with the latest news by reading a good-quality racing newspaper. The more information you have, the better able you are to assess a horse’s chance of winning.
Keep your own records on the horses you are interested in. Use a diary to record events as they happen. You may notice something that others have missed.


Studying all these factors takes an enormous amount of time. If you lack the time to do it yourself there are other people who have already done all the hard work. They are the tipsters employed by the newspapers. They select the likely prospects that they think will win. There are also telephone and internet tipping services that charge for information.

However you don’t always know what system they’re using to assess the horses and how good that system is. They may have missed an important factor that you may have noticed. The newspapers boast when their tipsters get it right but keep quiet when they don’t – after all, they are in the business of selling newspapers. Over the course of the year tipsters are bound to get it wrong too.


Record predictors
The record for predicting the most winners in one day is held by Charles Lamb, racing correspondent for the Balttmoroe News American. In 1974 he picked out 10 winners at a meeting held at Delaware Park. Bob Butcher of the Daily Mirror correctly forecast seven winners for a meeting at Wolverhampton. So, too, did Fred Shawcross at a York meeting in 1988.