Horse racing is a sport steeped in history and full of intricacies, and for many people new to the sport it can prove difficult to understand at first.
It’s not always as simple as watching to see which horse wins a race. There are form books to study, weather to watch out for and hunches to side with.
Horse racing bettors often love diving into the statistics to try and get a clearer understanding of which horses will win and place in upcoming races in order to maximise betting profit.
And here at Unibet we’ve got you covered with a dedicated horse racing page so you can read up on all the form, stats and insight you need before a race begins.
This guide will take you through the basics of the horse racing card, so you know what to look out for when deciding which horse to back.
You will learn the language of the horse racing card, as well as the differences in conditions that can affect your chosen bet.
Once you’ve read this guide you will have more knowledge on the intricacies of horse racing and the horse racing card, allowing you to bet smarter. So let’s take a look at what you need to know…
What is a horse racing card?
A horse racing card is effectively a list of all the horses set to run in a race, with their stats attached. Understanding the card will give you a more rounded understanding of which horses could do well in the race.
To see the relevant horse racing card, simply click on the race you want to bet on within the Racing home page at Unibet.
Understanding the horse racing card
We will now go through each aspect of the horse racing card so you know exactly what you are looking at.
The colour of the jersey and hat the jockey will wear. This is important if you want to keep an eye on your horse in the race.
Exactly as it sounds. Want to bet on a horse simply because you like the name, or for superstitious reasons? This is the place to find it!
The name below the horse’s name is that of the jockey, or the person riding the horse. Jockeys can ride multiple horses every day, sometimes at more than one track, and it can pay to know who is riding your horse. Are they in good form? Do they do well at the track or have a good relationship with that particular horse? All that takes some research, but at least you know who’s on board.
The name of the trainer appears on a horse racing card usually next to the jockey. Some trainers are particularly good at training horses for certain races, they can be in good/ bad form, they may do well at the track in question if it is local to them. All these things add up to make it an important piece of information to have.
All horses change age on 1st January every year, regardless of when they were actually born. In some races younger horses get allowances based on their age, so it’s good to know if your horse is competing with horses its own age or not.
The weight listed is the total of the jockey, saddle and additional weights added to the saddle cloth. For Handicap races, horses carry different weights based on their Official Rating (OR). That means better horses carry more weight than horses who are, officially at least, not as good, in order to make the races fairer. So, it’s very important to know the weight your horse is carrying in the context of the rest of the horses in the race. Always keep an eye out for a horse you think might be ‘well handicapped’ – in other words is carrying less weight than perhaps its ability suggest it should be.
Form is displayed as a run of numbers representing the horses finishing position in previous races, ordered from right to left. For example, if the results read ‘959483’ then the horse’s lastest finish was 3rd, and 6 races ago they finished 9th.
On the Unibet race card, Rating refers to Racing Post Rating, the widely accepted rating for a horse’s chances in the race. The higher the rating, the better the horse’s chance. Racing Post Rating (RPR) is adjusted for things like ground (going), distance etc and focuses on a horse’s best run in the conditions in the last 12 months.
The horse’s odds are located in the green box to the righthand side of the screen. The odds are live and can move both up and down in the lead up to the race down. Click on the odds to open up the bet slip, where you can place your bet. You can also choose what ‘format’ of odds you’d like to see. The traditional format is Fractional odds, for example 2/1. This means if you bet £1, you win £2, and get your £1 back for a total return of £3. However, there is also the options to see decimal odds. The same price as the example in Decimal would be 3.00. With decimal odds, you simply multiply your stake by the price for the total return on your bet, including your stake.
It’s always worth looking to see what the previous odds were on the horse you’re considering backing. If the odds are lengthening, it suggests few people think it will do well. If the odds are shortening, then people are betting on the horse, which is driving the price down.
This is a bet option where you are taking the official ‘Starting Price’ of the horse, rather than the price available now, which is determined by on course bookmakers. You won’t know what the starting price is until the betting closes, so the odds could go up and down depending on what happens in the interim.
The race header is the introduction to the race, which gives the reader information on the various conditions the horses will run through. There are three factors in the race header that are important for punters to know about…
Type of Race
There are also a number of factors regarding the race itself which it is important to know. Some horses will relish certain conditions and race type, whereas others may not so, so this is also key information when it comes to betting on a horse.
Type of Race
This is either Flat or Jumps. In Flat racing, horses start in stalls and race without any obstacles in the way. In Jumps racing, or National Hunt, horses have to navigate over obstacles as they go around the course. Most horses will only race in either Flat or Jumps races, although some will go from one to the other depending on suitability. Within National Hunt racing there is a further 2 race types:
These are smaller obstacles which are easier for horses to go over more quickly.
These are bigger obstacles which horses must jump over in Chase races.
This indicates the standard of horses that are running in the race. Horse races are graded into various classes, with Class 1 the top class available, all the way down to Class 7, although these are rare and Class 6 is the more regularly seen lowest class available. Within Class 1, there are sub classes of Listed, Grade 3, Grade 2 and Grade 1, with Grade 1 being the highest class of Racing in the UK and Ireland.
This indicates what the ground is like that the horses will run on. When horses run on turf, the ‘going’ can range from Heavy, the softest, to Firm, the hardest. There is also a going description of Hard, but this is very rarely seen these days as it is often not safe for horses to run on such hard ground. Some horses run better on firm ground, while others excel on soft. The wetter the ground, the softer it becomes. Some tracks, such as dirt and all-weather tracks, have other variants such as Fast, Standard and Slow — many of which are decided on the nature of the artificial surface.
Finding the right race
Unibet’s horse racing page is specifically designed to be easy to navigate. As there are a variety of races taking place each day, we’ve made sure you can quickly get to the race you want to bet on.
You can find the Racing homepage under the Racing tab on the Sports betting area of Unibet. The first thing you will see here is our ‘Next To Go’ widget, which tells you the next four races due to go off around the world that are available to bet on with Unibet.
Below that is the Unibet horse racing grid, where you can discover races from all over the world at various times throughout the day. Many races will be available to live stream, once you’ve gone through the race card, chosen your horse and placed your bet.
The Unibet horse racing page also offers Ante Post bets for major events in the future such as Cheltenham, Ascot and the Breeders Cup.
There are also a number of Specials offered on the Racing page, such as Jockey Championship, Trainers Championship and other relevant bets regarding the Horse Racing season.
Live stream horse racing
At Unibet we offer live streaming on racing from the UK and worldwide every single day. You can stream horse racing from your computer, smartphone or tablet simply by signing up and logging in to Unibet today! All you need to do is place a bet of at least £1 on the race in question.
Live streaming is a great way to get used to horse racing and understand the sport more thoroughly. It brings you right into the heart of the action to enhance your excitement at cheering your horse home.
Unibet Sports App
The best way to follow horse racing on the go is to download the Unibet Sports App to your phone or tablet. Here you can access all the same race card data that is available to users on desktop and laptop computers. You can also live stream horse racing from your phone, so you never miss out!