How to understand the various abbreviations on a horse racing card

How to understand the various abbreviations on a horse racing card

Horse racing around the UK is still one of the most popular sports going, and with its long history, royal connections and air of glamour, it is easy to see why. When you also add in the sheer drama that horse racing delivers, it is no wonder that so many people enjoy following it. Much of horse racing’s appeal can also be tied to the many superb events and festivals that take place every year. 2019’s thrilling Grand National race, for example, sums up why horse racing is so popular.

The Cheltenham Festival, which takes place each March, is another great example of why horse racing is so popular. With four days of scintillating competition, it also gives plenty of races to hopefully win money on. If you plan to bet at 2021’s festival, then picking up’s day two tips is a wise move. This site is run by expert horse racing professionals and is widely respected in the industry for providing some of the best tips around for Cheltenham.

Before you can get the most from betting at Cheltenham or any other horse racing event though, you need to know how race cards work. One thing that can confuse many people is the abbreviations used. What do the most commonly seen ones mean?

Abbreviations around form

Most race cards will give a snapshot of a horse’s current form somewhere next to their name or number. While the numbers shown here are easy to understand, you might wonder when letters begin to show up. P, for example, is one you might see a lot and indicates that a horse pulled up. You may also see F quite a lot, and this denotes that the horse fell in the race. U can confuse many novice bettors, but it just means that the horse unseated its rider!

Perhaps the last common abbreviation you might see is R. This indicates that the horse refused to jump a fence and therefore could not complete the race. Naturally, knowing what these abbreviations mean helps you to get a good overview of any horse’s current form and how they got on in previous races.

Race type abbreviations

All race cards will have the type of race at the top – this is so that you know what kind of race you are planning to bet on or watch. Therefore, knowing the abbreviations here is key. If you only bet on non-handicap races, for example, then you do not want to miss a key abbreviation that tells you that it is a handicap race!

What should you look out for? With the above in mind, Hcap is worth keeping an eye out for as it denotes a Handicap race. H is usually shown to tell people that it is a Hurdle race, while NHF will explain that it is a National Hunt Flat race. One really important abbreviation to understand is AW. This stands for All-Weather and tells you that this is the surface that the race will be run on. You may also see Cls or Gd – these stand for Class and Grade and tell you how competitive the race should be.

Other key abbreviations

Another key piece of information on any race card is the going. If you see Hvy, for example, this stands for heavy ground, while Gd stands for good ground, Fm for firm, and Sft for soft. On All-Weather courses, you may see Std for Standard or Hd for hard. As all horses run differently on different ground, this is key data to know.

It is also common to see different abbreviations on a card that can help race fans. CD, for example, shows that the horse has won at that course and distance before, while BF shows that they were a beaten favourite last time out. Any horse with N/R by them is a non-runner, while the OR figure is the official rating given to the horse by the British Horseracing Authority.

Race cards have many abbreviations to learn

Finding cool ideas on how to stay entertained in your life is essential. For some, it might be gaming or exercise, while for others, it is following horse racing. While the above is not an exhaustive list of all the abbreviations you might find on a card, it does show some of the most common. By knowing what these terms mean, you can quickly pick up on them when reading a card to use in your own betting.

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